The bottom line
This musical adapation of the picture book by Thatcher Hurd tells the unusual story of a canine named Arthur. By night, Arthur is a security guard at the Dogopolis Museum of Art, but at night he turns into Art Dog, a masked artist who paints the city. When Arthur’s favorite painting, The Mona Woofa, is stolen, Art Dog uses his art and imagination to get the painting back. Packed with action, wordplay and silly comedy, this hour-long play is a fun introduction to theater for ages 5 and older, or even preschoolers who can sit for an hour.
Arthur loves the paintings that he protects. The art pieces in the set are based on famous works by artists such as “Pablo Poodle” and “Henri Muttise.” The paintings have moveable parts that interact with Arthur, such as sailboats that move along the water when Arthur blows on them, and the eyes of a Picasso painting that change places when Arthur turns his back, providing lots of funny moments.
The four human actors make wonderful canines. The dogs all talk and sing, but also chase their tails, bark and howl. Actor Auston James, playing Arthur/Art Dog, is especially adept at bringing his doggy character to vivid life with spot-on facial expressions and nimble dance moves. The play is action-packed and full of silly physical comedy.
When Art Dog uses city buildings as his canvas, he wears a belt full of paints and wields a glowing paint brush to create his art. His masterpieces appear on the buildings through the use of cool lighting effects and scrims.
At about an hour long, this musical is a perfect introduction to theater for children. Kids will get a taste of wordplay, music, singing and dancing, along with some fun special effects. Be sure to stay after the final bow for autographs and a Q&A session with the actors.
Kid quote: “It was fun and funny!” From my 6-year-old son.
If you go ...
When and where: Art Dog runs April 10-May 18, Thursday-Sunday at Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St., Seattle
Tickets: $20 to $36; Thursday nights are the cheapest. Purchase online or call 206-441-3322.
Ages: Recommended for ages 5 and up, though preschoolers who can sit for an hour may also enjoy it.
Tips: There are snacks and drinks available in the lobby, including nut- and gluten-free options. The Children’s Theatre store is open after the play, and the Art Dog picture book is available for purchase. The store also has fun, low-cost items such as a dollar section and mystery bags for $5.
Parking: There is limited street parking and several nearby garages.