Dalmatians Pounce Kirkwood Stage

Stages St. Louis presents Disney's "101 Dalmatians" at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood.

Tired of barking up the wrong tree with choosing activities for the kids? Stages St. Louis has your pack covered with its production of Disney's musical, 101 Dalmatians, at the .

The play is adapted from the hit Disney film and romps across the Kirkwood stage through July 3. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 11 a.m.

Evil Cruella De Vil and her bumbling henchmen have dog-napped a family of Dalmatian puppies. Why? To make the most spectacular Dalmatian coat ever seen from the puppies fur. Oh, the dogmanity! But the evil plan will be thwarted thanks to the efforts of London's persistent pups and that clever cat, Sergeant Tibbs.

Bringing the madcap romp to the stage is a serious business. Director Michael Hamilton notes that while there are many similarities between directing an adult show and a children's show, there are some notable differences and challenges presented by "101 Dalmatians." The cast, for example, features nearly 20 kids.

“You still have to tell the story, but the way you go about it is different,” Hamilton said. “You have to be a teacher, a guide, a mentor. We've had young people in shows before, but not this many.”

Hamilton—who confesses to being a lover of Disney films—said the ultimate message the musical delivers is animals have feelings and are no different than the families they know.

“Animals have the same properties as humans,” Hamilton said. “They get sad and so forth. They learn how to do things from Mom and Dad, just like kids do. So kids will treat them the same way you treat humans. The biggest message is animals do have feelings and we should treat pets the same way we would like to be treated.”

The show does not use real dogs, which Hamilton said benefits the play. The kids can more easily identify with the characters since they're played by other kids in partial dalmatian costume.

Hamilton also noted that most people don't realize the Disney movie was a musical. Some songs were added to accompany the original tunes to create the stage musical version. Audiences will hear such songs as "Dalmatian Conga," "Cruella De Vil," and "Twilight Bark."

What: Disney's 101 Dalmatians
: Stages St. Louis; Robert G. Reim Theatre, 111 S. Geyer Rd. Kirkwood, MO. When: Through July 3, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, 11 a.m.
: $16 for Children and $18 for Adults. For tickets call 314-821-2407 or visit www.stagesstlouis.org.


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