The highly anticipated play, "Sylvia," about the relationship between a man and his dog opened on Broadway on October 27 at the Cort Theater, New York. The play, written by A.R. Gurney, stars Matthew Broderick as Greg, a dissatisfied middle-aged man, Julie White as his distant wife, and Annaleigh Ashford as the title character Sylvia, a scruffy stray dog Greg takes in to the dismay of White’s character. The play originally showed Off-Broadway in 1995 with Broderick’s wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, in the Sylvia role.
There is a special discount available for dog lovers wishing to attend the show. If you buy now for performances between now and December 27th you can save over $50 (Use the code SVNDR1029).
Ashford’s performance is bringing in positive reviews, namely for her ability to perform subtle dog movements and nuances while also appearing sexy and flirty. “Hey! Hey! Hey!” is her “bark”—something she worked with a voice coach on perfecting.
“One of my lines at the top of the play is, ‘My aim in life is to please,’ and that’s my super-objective for the play,” she told Vanity Fair. She also took obedience, agility, and sheep-herding classes with her Australian Shepherd, Gracie, in preparation for the role.
“But the story isn’t really about the dog, it’s about the dog’s owner” is a point brought up in a review by Variety, referring to how the play focuses on Greg becoming more and more consumed with his connection to his unruly four-legged friend and more detached from his wife, who is unapologetically anti-dog. “I want freedom from dogs,” is one of White’s lines.
But don’t be fooled by her role. White, along with the rest of the cast, is a dedicated dog lover. According to Variety, rehearsals would tailspin into White, Broderick, and Ashford talking about their own dogs.
“I didn’t stop it,” said director Daniel Sullivan.
And Ashford credits Gracie for helping her build her performance.
“She does something every day that kind of works its way into the role,” Ashford told "Today" (scroll down for video). “Thank God I have a dog! What would I have done?”
The show will run for 16 weeks, and tickets are available here.
See Ashford and Broderick on "Today" in this video clip: