Goodspeed Musicals, East Haddam: If ever a dog deserved a review, it’s Bowdie as Winn Dixie at the Goodspeed Opera House. Here’s a dog with stage presence that other theatrical dogs can only dream of. He’s got star power from tail to nose and best of all he is really BIG. When he first appears, he seems larger than life. He sits like a pyramid — substantial, immovable. It’s part of his mystique. You’re already hooked on him and as soon as he moves, you watch his every move. He cocks his head and you applaud; he barks; you applaud. He is in complete control of the stage, the actors, and the audience. There is no doubt about it — Bowdie is the star of this show called “Because of Winn Dixie.” Dog trainer Bill Berloni has done an incredible job with Bowdie. Kudos to both.
Two things need to be addressed here. First the musical itself and secondly the Goodspeed production. Based on Kate DiCamillo’s novel and the film of the same title, the show features book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and music by Duncan Sheik. The staging seems to have lost some of the power of the original novel. The positive Christian messages have been somewhat diluted with chaotic action or other stage business.