How Broadway Barks Inspired Michael Cerveris to Rescue His “Scruffy Southern Belle”

Special Features   Best in Show: How Broadway Barks Inspired Michael Cerveris to Rescue His “Scruffy Southern Belle” The Tony winner confides in Playbill about his best furry friend, Evangeline, in anticipation of the annual event this weekend.
Evangeline and Michael Cerveris
Evangeline and Michael Cerveris Michael Cerveris

Best in Show, a spotlight on Broadway stars and their animal companions, continues with two-time Tony-winning Fun Home star Michael Cerveris and his dog Evangeline. Cerveris will be part of the 18th edition of Broadway Barks, the celebrity-filled dog and cat adoption event co-founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, July 30 in Shubert Alley.

What is your pet’s name, and is there a story behind it?
Michael Cerveris: Evangeline (though she gets called Evie a lot).

Evangeline is associated with Louisiana Cajun culture (which I love) via Longfellow’s poem of the same name. It’s a love story of Evangeline and Gabriel (which happens to be my confirmation name). Evie was rescued near the Louisiana/Mississippi border, so Evangeline seemed like the perfect name for this little scruffy southern belle.

Evangeline also means “Bringer of Good News,” which is pretty true every day.

Breed? Age?
MC: She’s half Brittany Spaniel and half a whole bunch of stuff (including Alaskan Malamute, according to the DNA test...makes you wonder).

Evangeline
Evangeline Michael Cerveris

How did you find your pet?
MC: My only successful online dating experience. I had been scrolling through Petfinders.com and Adopt-A-Pet.com websites for awhile after looking for the right companion at last year’s Broadway Barks. Then I saw her photo and description and contacted her rescuers at Southern Paws Inc., a terrific group who saves dogs from southern kill shelters and brings them north to find homes.

What is the one thing your pet has eaten that she shouldn’t have?
MC: Ah, if only it were just one thing. Being a puppy and a hunter, she’s very....curious. She does seem to have a particular death-wish with grapes, which are now banned from the house (unless safely bottled).

Evangeline
Evangeline Michael Cerveris

What person, living or dead, does your pet remind you of and why?
MC: Emma Stone...I think it’s the freckles and the eyes.

Where does your pet sleep?
MC: In her crate for the first year or so, now pretty much wherever she wants.

Is this your first pet? If not, elaborate?
MC: My previous dog, Gibson, was a veteran of numerous Broadway Barks and a fixture in my dressing room for most of her 16-and-a-half years.

Do you use a groomer, no groomer?
MC: No groomer. She’s a country girl, and bath time is an adventure. For both of us.

Do you dress your pet? If so, what is her favorite or least favorite thing to wear?
MC: Only for the weather.... She has a little green hunter’s jacket for when it gets too cold for a southern girl. She especially likes her snow boots.

Best Halloween costume?
MC: Missed last year—we’ll have to start working on that and Mardi Gras for this year.

Best trip with your pet?
MC: A father/daughter first birthday trip to the Catskills on Memorial Day—hiking, swimming in a lake and having the run of a little cabin. She wore herself happily out every day being a dog.

Evangeline
Evangeline Michael Cerveris

Favorite Toy?
MC: Her stuffed alligator—I think it reminds her of her roots.

Does your pet do tricks/commands?
MC: Yes, my pet does commands. And, yes, I obey.

If you could talk to your pet for five minutes, what would you ask her?
MC: Seriously, what’s the thing with birds?

Zell Steele Morrow and Evangeline
Zell Steele Morrow and Evangeline Michael Cerveris

Does your pet have a best friend?
MC: Besides me, I hope? Evie is extremely social, so she’s made great friends with everyone at the theatre (the kids LOVE her) and is apparently a hit with dogs and staff alike at her daycare place when she goes there.

Is there a pet product you swear by that you can’t live without?
MC: I bought a maze food bowl that makes her slow down her ravenous eating habits, which I think is much healthier for her. She eats like she did hard time and was always afraid the other inmates were going to steal her food.

If your pet was a character in a Broadway show, who would that character be?
MC: Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird

If there was one thing you would want people to know about your pet, what would it be?
MC: The suspicion you have that she knows your secrets but will never betray them is probably right.

You and your pet go on a talk show. What is your anecdote about her or hers about you?
MC: I shudder to think what her anecdotes about me are.

Most embarrassing thing your pet has ever done in public or when guests are over.
MC: Evie is a perfect Southern Lady and exhibits exemplary southern behavior. When she wants to. Which is also perfect Southern Lady behavior.

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