First, watch the video. Because I don’t want to give away the joke. There. Done?
Now, we have to give it away. Miller Theatre won’t really focus its upcoming season on dogs. Though it’s a beautiful thought, particularly in the uber-marketed universe of high culture with its singles mixers, tech nights and iPhone concert-alongs.
But Miller, known for its adventurous programming of new music, is really just revealing another side of its artistic arsenal. Comedy.
I’d say this ranks up with “Audition Improbable” on a simple, laugh-per-bar meter.
The video will be up for April Fool’s Day on Miller’s website but remain here until they close the internet.
Who did it? Marketing Director Charlotte Levitt pitched the idea. Executive director Melissa Smey wasn’t about to resist. After all, you’ve never met Sophie, her Westy. Sophie gets a star-turn, as do a group of dogs from the Staten Island Companion Dog Training Club. “It’s fun and it’s funny but I do think there’s a connection to our sensibility at Miller Theatre,” says Smey. “We want music to be fun. We want people to come to the theater and enjoy it.”
How did they get the JACK Quartet? The universally praised group didn’t need to be begged. They don’t just play together. They watch Christopher Guest movies together. Which makes perfect sense since violinist Christopher Otto pulls off what can best be described as the classical music equivalent of Nigel Tufnel’s “these go to eleven” moment.
As director Daniel Schloss cuts between the quartet and the dogs sitting politely in the audience, Otto speaks.
“The Beethoven, on the one hand, might seem old hat to humans, but when you take it up several octaves, there’s really something special to it.”
Was that Beethoven’s Opus 131?
“We did feel a little bad just throwing it up into the higher register,” says violist John Pickford Richards. “It’s a revered piece. But it did serve the purpose.”