Members of the Good Company Entertainment Group know how to have a good time.
Anyone who saw their previous shows at ArtSpring — such as Time Piece in 2019 and Peter on the Brink in 2015 — will attest to that.
And they’re set to do it again with their 2023 production, called Dogs in the Moonlight: A Thematic Rock Concert and Homage to Alan Watts. It runs at ArtSpring on May 12 and 13, and then from May 17 to 20 at 7 p.m.
Suzanne Rouger and Karen Arney are again leading the magic as co-producers. Rouger wrote the play and is both director and choreographer, while Arney is executive producer and co-music director with Rouger’s son Marcel.
The show’s genesis came from a conversation between Rouger and Arney at Moby’s Pub one night a few years ago. A certain tune came up on the playlist and it made Arney say, “Gee, it would be fun to do another show sometime.” They’re not sharing the name of that song, which is in the show, but it immediately prompted them to think about a Seven Deadly Sins show theme.
“So we went into this frenzy of listening to tunes to find out what would fit into the Seven Deadly Sins. It was so fun,” said Arney.
“And so silly,” added Rouger. “We’re silly people.”
But silliness aside, Rouger also developed a whole plotline, said Arney, and it’s one that carries a positive message.
Rouger explained that the plot revolves around a news team pitching the idea of a reality show that focuses on people’s sins: “So they want to go out into the world and just get examples of people’s sins.”
Four elements of Alan Watts — four different actors Rouger calls “the four Als” — watch the process and decide to go back on the road as “philosophical entertainers,” which is what Watts called himself, in Betty’s Travelling Circus of Ideas. Opposing forces try to find some common ground, with the ultimate message that “we’re all in this together . . . The whole point of the show is that we have more in common than not.”
“So there’s an arc to the story and resolution and all that, and we want people leaving the show feeling good,” Arney said.
Dogs in the Moonlight has a cast of some two dozen actors, musicians and singers.
“We have a super cast,” said Rouger. “They are really wonderful people, and people that the community all knows.”
Arney said some are stalwarts from past shows and others are new discoveries.
“It’s a mix. And a lot of them have done so much character development, and some of them are really funny.”
The four Alan Watts roles are filled by Brian Box, Dion Hackett, Bruce Grey and Martin Thorn, and Suzanne Gay plays Betty in the circus. The news team consists of Dustin Bragg-Van Wyck, Megan Colgan and Moonie Garner, while the city dwellers are Shyla-Rae Lloyd-Walters, Swapnika Chander, Christie Roome, Liam Hackett, Wendy Beatty and Wyatt Floerke.
The musical score consists of 22 well-known rock songs executed by the group’s strong band, led by Marcel Rouger. Thorn, Grey and Dion Hackett are also part of the band at times, along with guitarist Jim Shultz, Patrick Byrn on saxophone, Dayve Dah’veed Dayviday on drums, Arney on keyboards and her son Ben Arney on electric and upright bass. Marcel Rouger plays guitar and violin.
Meriel Galloway, a retired veterinarian and physician who is passionate about costume design, has been an invaluable addition to the team.
“She does costumes like she would do a surgery. It’s that precise. It’s that good. Every single costume is a piece of artwork,” said Rouger.
Many more hands and hearts are hard at work in preparation for opening night this Friday at 7 p.m.
Tickets for Dogs in the Moonlight are on sale through ArtSpring.