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Dogs act out for the part in Phipps' musical

Kenya reacts as director Randy Winkler sings to her, nearly face to face. Photo by Margaret Ontl1 / 4
Mindy, the family dog of the Susa household tried out for the part as well. Winkler checks Mindy's reaction to touch. Photo by Margaret Ontl2 / 4
Luna, the Hungarian Vizsla, was eager to greet director Winkler. She attended auditions with her family including Ian Egeberg. Photo by Margaret Ontl3 / 4
Rascal appeared to be a happy when Randy Winkler, director for Annie the upcoming musical to be stage at the Phipps Center for the Arts, sang loudly directly at the dog. Barb Mlinar is holding Rascal. To the left is Alex Mlinar. They brought Rascal in for the dog auditions for the character of Sandy. Photo by Margaret Ontl4 / 4

Monday night, dogs, four to be exact, along with their families, showed up at the Phipps Center for the Arts to audition for the part of Sandy in the upcoming musical Annie.

The only prerequisite was that the dog be sandy colored and medium sized.

The show's director Randy Winkler, who owns four dogs himself, knew what he was looking for. Each prospective canine star, was giving an earful of singing in close quarters as well as clapping.

Winkler, observed how each reacted to children and for that matter to each other.

"I am looking for a dog that is well behaved and can take commands from another person, who is not a family member," said Winkler. "He is going to have to sit on stage, walk across stage and sit during an entire scene."

Tuesday, morning the winner of the audition was announced, Kenya will be the next Sandy appearing on the Phipps Center for the Arts stage. Kenya a nine year old Golden Retriever is a retired service dog, who recently returned to her original trainer Cathy Diaz, who trains dogs for Helping Paws, Minnesota. Diaz lives in Hudson and is thrilled to have Kenya as a permanent part of her household.

Performances of Annie will run from October 29th through November 28th. It is not recommended for children under age 4.

Tickets are $23 for adults and $16 for all students with a current ID, with a $2 discount for the opening weekend, and a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees.

Performances are Fridays, October 29, November 5, 12, 19 & 26, 2010, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, October 30, November 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, October 31, November 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2010, at 2 p.m.