Northport more than lived up to its dog-friendly reputation on Sunday during an open at that attracted a coterie of canines in all shapes, sizes, and breeds vying to play "Horrid the Dog" in an upcoming production of Camelot.
Twenty eight dogs made a play for the part of elderly King Pellinore's furry companion-- called Horrid because of his age, bedraggled appearance, and uselessness-- and one will have the honor of being the first animal to grace Engeman's stage.
“It was one of the most fun experiences in a casting process,” said Associate Artistic Director Vic DiMonda, adding that the theater will choose one dog and an understudy.
Given how much dog owners love their pets, DiMonda said that he wasn’t surprised about the turn-out.
“All were incredibly well-behaved and a lot of fun,” said DiMonda, who added with a laugh, “Some were extremely big.”
As dogs auditioned in the studio across from the theater, owners and dogs-in-waiting hung out in the air-conditioned studio adjacent to the theater. Due to the heat, bowls of water were the order of the day.
Ollie, an eight-year-old newfoundland, was accompanied by a veritable entourage. According to owner Katie Pulvidente, it was the first time her dog auditioned for a part. Ollie’s claim to fame? He can swim very well, although it’s doubtful that that this expertise will come in handy for this role.
The Kaplan family brought along Bailey, a one and a half-year-old wheaten terrier, who appears to be quite the trickster. Bailey, who had just gotten out of the pool to come to the audition, can sit, beg, walk on his back legs, catch and kneel.
Robert, a four-year-old newfoundland, and a real charmer, came with his own headshots.
Jennifer Lau, of Northport, brought Einstein, a nine and a half-year-old black labrador, one of three dogs that she owns.
“I thought it would be fun to see our dog on stage,” Lau explained. “I think that she would enjoy it. She loves being around people, and she’s a very mellow dog.”
In this dog-eat-dog world, only one dog can be top dog, and the owner of that lucky dog should know by the beginning of next week, DiMonda said.