Opinion: It’s Time for a Musical About Toys Filled with Peanut Butter (Guest Column by This Dog)
by Zach Raffio. @zachraffio.
Let’s face it - the subject matter of musical theatre throughout the decades has been expansive, specific, and eye-opening to a number of stories that otherwise wouldn’t have been told. So why, after so many steps forward, is there not a musical exclusively about toys filled with peanut butter?
Here’s why we need a musical about peanut butter toys now more than ever - and yes, before you ask, I am a dog, and my name is Runny.
1. I would like it
I’d like to see people singing and dancing about hard-ribbed plastic toys that are full of peanut butter, preferably while holding them or maybe even throwing them. These toys are something I’m passionate about and have had a major impact on my life, and I think that story is big enough for any stage. Plus, I like being around them cause maybe somebody will give me one.
You could sell toys filled with peanut butter before the show and during intermission. Not only would this be a fun, lucrative way to tie in the show’s subject matter with a physical item, but it would keep everyone in the audience quiet and occupied for the second act - especially if they are dogs, which I am (specifically one named Runny).
3. You could cast dogs
For too long, dogs on stage have been nothing more than a cheap stunt to get an easy applause. We do a trick, we miss a cue and do something cute - maybe bark when we’re not supposed to. It’s time for dogs to be given real, substantial roles on stage.
I want a monologue (even though it will sound like barks and whimpers), a dance number (me doing that spinning thing dogs do), maybe even an 11 o’clock number (you know those videos of huskies singing? Get one of them). It’s time for dogs on stage to be given a real, meaty role - and speaking of meat, please give me meat.
4. It opens a door
Think about it: today it’s a fully produced, two-act musical about toys stuffed with peanut butter, but what about tomorrow? Maybe a one-act play about the zoomies, or an opera about rolling around outside. An experimental dance piece set at a dog park, or even a two-part, Angels in America-esque epic about getting to sleep on the bed tonight. The possibilities are endless - and isn’t that what theatre is about?
Digging in, breaking new ground, and burying your peanut butter toy in the ground and then when your owner finds it they have to wash it before you get to use it again because "Runny it's covered in dirt, you can't chew on it", but you don’t understand why and you want to play with it now? Isn’t that theatre?
5. Stage door would be cute
You get it.
So, in conclusion, I think the world is ready for a musical about toys filled with peanut butter, and would like to see one very soon. That being said, if you were to simply give me a toy filled with peanut butter, I would be distracted long enough for you to go ahead and make a musical adaptation of Daddy Day Care or whatever, so it's your call.