“Doctor Dolittle, The Musical” at Cotuit Center for the Arts
Cotuit Center for the Arts presents the warm-hearted family musical, “Doctor Dolittle,” November 26 through December 29. Opening night is Tuesday, November 26 at 7:30 PM. Additional performances are Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays, at 5 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM. The show is directed by Jay Stewart, with music direction by Chris Morris, and choreography by Meg Morris.
A big, Broadway-sized musical for the whole family, “Doctor Dolittle” is a wacky tale of one man’s love for animals—all kinds of animals—who trot, crawl, and fly onto the stage. Based on Hugh Lofting's popular children's books written from 1920 to 1952, the show is set in Victorian England, where Doctor Dolittle lives in the fictional town of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
Doctor Dolittle abandons his human medical practice to treat animals, learning 498 of their languages from Polynesia, his parrot, and travels the world to learn more about exotic places like the mysterious Sea Star Island and unusual animals like the dancing two-headed Pushme-Pullyou, the Great Pink Sea Snail, the oldest and wisest of all the creatures on earth, and the Giant Lunar Moth.
“Our brilliant designer, Tristan DiVincenzo, suggested the concept that all the show’s animals be presented as puppets, and I love it, said director Stewart.
“Puppeteer and master craftsperson Mary Rice is creating some of the most unique and lovable puppets that Cotuit Center for the Arts audiences will have ever seen! This will add a lovely new facet to the fantastical, Steampunk-inspired world we are building for Dr. Dolittle,” he said.
Memorable songs include “Talk to the Animals,” “I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It” and “My Friend the Doctor.” “Our big production numbers will be a wonderful mix of terrific music by music director Chris Morris and delightful dance and physical comedy from choreographer Meg Morris,” Stewart said.
“Audiences should hold onto their top hats as we take them from the merry olde English countryside, to ringside at the circus, through a storm at sea, to a tropical island of fantastic creatures, and back again—all in time for Christmas,” said Steward.
The cast includes Michael Ernst as Dr. John Dolittle, Treather Gassmann as Emma Fairfax, Jon Cornet as Matthew Muggins, Jo Brisbane as Polynesia the parrot, Max Wesp as Tommy Stubbins, Randy Doyle as General Bellows, Tom Crutchfield as Albert Blossom, Hannah Carrita as Gertie Blossom, and Charlie Jenkins as Straight Arrow.
Members of the Adult Ensemble are Crystal Caron, Stephanie Polito, Ben Ninesling, Jess Lang, and Larry Zalis. The Younger Youth Ensemble is Tallulah Bossi, Kaitlyn Markowski, Nora Young, and Molly Young, and the Older Youth Ensemble is Aeva DaBreo, Raye Doyle, and Nicole Norris.
Lofting is said to have based his stories on an actual doctor, John Hunter (1728-1793), who studied anatomy and kept a large collection of animals for study. Lofting began the collection of stories as illustrated letters home to his children, while he was serving in the trenches during World War I, when “actual news was either too horrible or too dull” to write about.
Doctor Dolittle has come to life on stage and screen often over the years, including a 1967 film starring Rex Harrison, a 1970s animated television series, and the 1998 stage musical with book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, based on the 1967 movie. A 1998 film starring Eddie Murphy followed a significantly different plot; there were four sequels. “Dolittle,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and focusing on the journeys of the kindly doctor, is scheduled to be released in January 2020.
Tickets are $37, $32 for balcony seating; $15 for students and children. There is a $5 discount for members and a $2 discount for seniors and veterans. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit. For more information, visit www.artsonthecape.org or call 508-428-0669.
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“Doctor Dolittle, The Musical”
Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Route 28, Cotuit
November 26 to December 29, Tuesday, November 26, at 7:30 PM; Fridays at 7:30 PM; Saturdays at 5 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM
$37, $32 for balcony seating; students and children, $15; $5 discount for members, $2 discount for seniors and veterans