The Life of a Stage Dog

Sir Duke - Legally Blonde Melbourne

September 28, 2020

Trivia: Did you know that Sir Duke was the dachshund who played ‘Bruiser’ in the live musical Legally Blond Melbourne in 2019? 

When a Star Is Born

It all began in August 2019 when Sir Duke was chosen as the most suitable dog to perform as ‘Bruiser’ in the live musical Legally Blonde here in Melbourne.

After auditioning amongst other dachshunds, he left his audition having impressed the dog obedience trainer who would be choosing the next doggie star. The TV cameras and media were all there to watch him strut his stuff whilst an anxious Mama was asked to leave the auditioning room to see if he would perform without me in the room. And that he did.  I was called back in after his audition had finished to hear the words ‘Duke is a Star’. My heart was so proud of him all that training we had done when he was younger had finally paid off. 

Then came the wait. Two weeks after he auditioned, the Producer finally phoned. ‘Is now a good time to talk?’  Of course, it is. ‘Well we have some good news for you. Sir Duke has been chosen as the dog to perform as Bruiser in the leading role on stage for our live musical’

WOW I was gobsmacked!  I couldn’t quite believe what I had just heard.  After not hearing for 2 weeks of audition outcome I was certain my distinguished old grey boy was certainly not the chosen one. After all, he was up amongst many young guns who were certainly there to impress. How wrong was I. 

And so, the journey began with 3 months of training to ensure he was fit for the live stage.  Training sessions with the cast were held at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne.  We would travel into the city for our booked sessions on a regular basis. It was all about the cast getting to know him and him them, working alongside them during the scenes and ensuring he showed no signs of stage fright with all the loud singing and when those dancing girls heels came out.

The loudness of the orchestra provided lots of stimulation for a little dachshund who was clearly in his element. Duke showed spunk! He loved every minute of his training and before we knew it, he was running out on stage and barking on cue with the cast when asked. 

November rolled on very quickly and the show was due to go live to an audience very soon.  The final week before live performances started, he had sessions each evening in the theatre on the actual stage in the pink space. A first for him away from the usual place at the Victorian College of the Arts. This time it was full-on stage lights and a 30-piece orchestra pumping out the music all added to the mix. All firsts for him and his final test. Before we knew it, final dress rehearsal night was here. Now was his last chance to perform before the show went live. And that he did. He was now ready to become a star of the stage. 

‘Chookas Duke’, ‘Break a leg Duke’- the premier night was here.  Everyone was super excited and the cast couldn’t wait to go live. Months of preparation and training and it was all about to get real.  Legally Blonde Melbourne had arrived and so had Elle Woods and her little show dog called ‘Bruiser’.

For 4 weeks of performances Sir Duke held his nerve and did the cast and I absolutely proud.  Each performance he stepped out onto the stage and never faltered. He performed his role just as he was trained to do.   

Many friends and family came to see him perform. Each and every one of them said he was amazing and loved him. Many said he stole the show - no surprise really given we all love a four-legged performing doggo. 

For me as his fur Mama it was one of the most memorable and proudest moments of my life with him. Not every dog becomes a stage dog and not just any dog can do it. 

Sir Duke was definitely born to be a star.

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