The musical is an AHT commission by the creators of the locally popular four-actor musical Married Alive! that appeared in AHT's 2005-06 season and has since been picked up for independent productions at theatres around the country.
Sean Grennan (book and lyrics) and Leah Okimoto (music) penned A Dog's Life, which will feature Kansas City actors Jessalyn Kincaid as Little Dog and John-Michael Zuerlein as Jack, the hero of the show; and New Yorkers Kurt Robbins (tours of Les Miz and Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Joel (Jack's owner) and Nicholas Ward (national tour of Show Boat) as Big Dog.
Grennan told Playbill.com, "A Dog's Life charts the life of Jack the dog and his accidental master, Joel, from the adoption to its inevitable conclusion. It differs, I think, from other canine-themed shows in that it tracks one dog's life and all the stages he and his owner go through along the way."
In October 2006, American Heartland Theatre sponsored a week-long workshop that culminated in a staged reading for 400 AHT subscribers. This is the second project for the writing team. They are currently also at work on a new holiday show (Another Night Before Christmas).
A Dog's Life will be directed by AHT's artistic director Paul Hough and music directed and accompanied by Anthony Edwards. Hough directed the world premiere of Married Alive!. Lilli Zarda, Rick Brown and Jeff Fegley round out the producing team.
For more information, visit www.AmericanHeartlandTheatre.com.
Married Alive! will make its Chicago premiere in summer 2007 at Marriot Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL. The Barter Theatre in Virginia will also produce a version of it.
Musicals about dogs appear to be mini-trend lately. At least two other canine-themed projects has appeared in recent seasons — Tails (at www.tailsthemusical.com) and Bark! The Musical (at www.barkthemusical.com).