I was laying around the house thinking about all the fun I had as Lexi-Toto in the local productions of the Wizard of Oz. To kick things off, we all attended the Annie Awards (like the Oscars, only at our local theater) in 2006. This is where I first met lots of the people I would be working with. A couple of people asked why I (a dog) was there, but as soon as they heard I was going to play Toto, they welcomed me to their ranks. It was a formal affair, so Dad made me wear a tux collar and bow tie. It matched Mom’s red dress! Don’t they look like proud parents? I still had a few months before the play opened to grow out my hair for the Toto look.
Annie Awards Reception 2006
Here are pictures of me with my Dorothy from the first production in 2006 and the third one in 2014. You can probably see where I put on a pound or two in those eight years. Dorothy #3 used to grunt every time she picked me up. Mom said she was sorry about the extra weight, but that she wouldn’t be able to grunt like that during the live play. BOL
2006 with my first and favorite Dorothy
2014 with my last Dorothy
I must admit, I do look and feel better since I recently lost some weight on my green bean and carrot diet.
There was a lot of publicity surrounding the production at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Sometimes during our six weeks of rehearsals my Dorothy and I had to stop to have our pictures made for the newspaper and playbills.
Publicity shot 2006
For this picture, Mommy hid a piece of cake under my Dorothy’s right shoe. When she realized how focused I am when there is food involved, my Dorothy started rubbing hot dogs on her skin and hiding treats in her socks. See why I loved her so much? It certainly kept me with her – at least most of the time, as you will soon see.
The play ran for six weeks and I reported for duty every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. I would arrive in time for warm ups. I would run to the room where I could hear everyone singing, “Doe, ray, me, fah, sew, lah, me, doe,” and scratch at the door until someone opened it and let me in. I would run to the front row and do warm ups with the cast. “Aroooo, arrrr, woof, woof!” I was so good that everyone would laugh with joy. Then we would all sing warm ups together again and everyone would laugh again. It was so much fun!
There were two distinct episodes when hot dogs in the socks did not keep me with my Dorothy. The first week on stage, I realized I could run down the stairs behind the good witch, Glenda, and visit with the audience. I had a limited amount of time so I visited quickly with just the first row, letting them know I was glad they had come. Then I tore up the opposite set of stairs and across the stage to stand next to my Dorothy in time for Glenda to point at me and ask, “Is this the witch?” Even though I never, ever missed my cue, this whole thing made Mom and my Dorothy a bit nervous, so Glenda started blocking my exit stairs with her big skirt. Drat.
A little further along into the production I realized the Wicked Witch of the West was sneaking across the back part of the stage while Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Lion were near the front of the stage, discussing which way to go. Since not much else was happening, I thought it would be great fun to chase and bark at the Wicked Witch. She kept waving her hand and stage-whispering, “Shoo, shoo” at me. Later I found out that my Dorothy and her friends weren’t supposed to know the Wicked Witch was there, which explained why they only looked from side to side while saying things like, “Is that Toto barking?” and “Where is Toto? Do you hear him?” The audience laughed so hard that I kept doing it every night.
I have lots more stories, but my brain is a bit tired from all this remembering, so I will share more next time. Is it supper time yet?