SuperDogs: The Musical
fetches great response

World premiere of revamped production continues at Segal Centre

By Byron Toben

December 9, 2021

Back in August 2015, in my second article for WestmountMag (now closing in on 500), I reviewed the Cirque de Soleil spin-off Cavalia Odysseo which featured 70 horses, all-male, under the world’s largest tent (2000 capacity). Pretty spectacular. Each equine was rewarded with a bale of hay after the show.


Zoe Brown and Spade

Now continuing at the Segal Centre (306 seats) is the more intimate SuperDogs: The Musical, which has 23 dogs, both male and female, who are rewarded on stage with bits of kibble. This “stunt dog agility spectacle” features dogs of different breeds, some large, some small, as they catch Frisbees, jump barriers, zip through tunnels, circle about and even ring bells.

While different productions of SuperDogs have been seen by millions over the past 40 years since created by Leonard Chase, this is the world premiere of a blend of it with a musical theatre plot written by Mr. Chase and John Halpin. Ably directed by Sara Rodriquez, there are several human actors besides four dog trainers – Amy White, Alexandra Côté, Caitlynn Dick and Jennifer Fraser. A limber teenager Chloe (Zoe Brown) seeks to have her terrier, Bear (Spade or Squat on alternate nights) accepted as a SuperDog. To do that, she has to convince two organizers, Dante (Dakota Jamal Wellman) and boss (Stewart Adam McKensey) while two humans (Trevor Barrette and Amber Jonas) dressed as dogs (shades of the musical Cats) run around singing.

An on-stage band of five – piano, violin, guitar, bass and drums– adds to the richness of the piece as they strum arrangements by John Halpin and Chris Barillaro.

One minor quibble – to my ear, much of the music of the various songs sounded similar to each other.


Amber Jonas, Zoe Brown and Trevor Barrette

Virgil sang of Arms and the Man. Here now I sing of Names and the Dog. The trained dogs have unusual names – Bravo, Boomer, Captain Kangaroo, Cruiser, Daiquiri, Fabio, Gremlin, Jelly Bean, Jude Jube, Halo, Jamboree, Mercedes, Monster, Orbit, Raven, Razzle, Sambucca, Sprite, Tesla, Tootsie Roll and Wonder Woman.

While different productions of SuperDogs have been seen by millions over the past 40 years… this is the world premiere of a blend of it with a musical theatre plot…

This brought to my mind the many dog stars of comic strips. Just offhand, I recall comic strip major characters like Walt Disney’s Goofy and Pluto, Peanut’s Snoopy, Marmaduke’s Marmaduke, Pooch Café’s Poncho and Get Fuzzy’s Satchel plus supporting characters like Daisy in Blondie, Farley in For Better or Worse and Officer Pupp in Krazy Kat.

Readers are encouraged to add others of their favourite comic strip dogs that they may recall.

SuperDogs: The Musical continues at the Segal Centre until December 19.

Feature image: SuperDogs cast
All images: Andrée Lanthier
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More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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