Puttin’ on the dog at Orono High School

Posted Nov. 01, 2011, at 6:15 p.m.

ORONO — It’s a dog’s life, but Orono’s pups really know how to live it. Fifteen of the community’s most talented and adorable canines walked the runway Oct. 27 at Orono High School as they auditioned for the part of Sandy in the OHS musical production of “Annie.” The event, co-sponsored by OHS, the Orono Schools Coalition for the Arts, and the Animal Orphanage, was a fundraiser to help support performing arts programs in the schools, as well as the local animal shelter.

From Piper, the tiny Yorkie-dachshund mix (whose stage debut was in the OHS production of “Gypsy” a few years ago) to a very mellow Newfie named Maji, the contestants were all on their best behavior. Were they worried they might get detention if they misbehaved? More likely, they were calmed by their family’s expert handling, the humorous patter of celebrity host Dr. Dave Cloutier of Veazie Veterinary Clinic, and the genuine kindness and delight shown by their co-stars, Annie (Emilie Seavey) and Daddy Warbucks (Max Birgfeld Davis).

The pressure was on as each dog, accompanied by its owner, took a runway stroll, met Dr. Dave, then was introduced to Annie and Daddy Warbucks. The actors patted and chatted with each pooch, then it was Annie’s turn to take the dog for a walk along the red carpet. After all dogs had had a chance to show how cute and obedient they were and how well they interacted with Annie, it was time for the audience to vote and for the actors to confer with the play’s director. Who would win the part of Sandy?

Unlike human elections, this balloting was done with dollar bills. At a dollar a vote, audience members could vote for as many dogs and as many times as their wallets could afford. When decisions were finally announced, the winner of the role of Sandy was Miller, an 8-year-old golden retriever. The winner of the popular vote and of an additional canine part in the show was Rooster, an 18-month-old Cockapoo. Runner-up for the popular vote was Radar, a 9-year-old Welsh corgi.

The Orono High School production of “Annie” will run at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, through Saturday, Nov. 19. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. For more information, call OHS at 866-4916.

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