No Dogs Allowed! is the story of Iris, a bright 8-year-old, who lives “in a place called the Bronx, in the Kingdom of 3rd Avenue… in the Land of New York City,” with her family and her dog El Exigente. One bright day, the family decides to take a trip to the Enchanted State Park and Iris is determined to bring her beloved El Exigente, even though at the park there are ‘no dogs allowed’. With a cast of unique, charming and wonderfully funny characters, No Dogs Allowed! is a brilliant new musical adapted from Sonia Manzano’s best-selling Children’s book of the same name.
In the musical No Dogs Allowed! Iris is a bright 8-year-old, who lives “in a place called the Bronx, in the Kingdom of 3rd Avenue… in the Land of New York City,” with her big sister named Shorty the Fortune Teller because she always seems to know what’s going to happen, a Mami named Mami the Busy because she was always busy doing something, and a Papi named Papi the Clever “who with the touch of a hand and about five or six hours could fix anything.” She also lives with a dog they called El Exigente simply because they all loved him so much. One day they decide to take a trip to the Enchanted State Park. Iris’ Aunt Carmen the Beautiful and her brand new husband Juan show up, as does Don Joe who owns the deli. The whole bunch packs the car with more paraphernalia than they could possibly need, even while trying to heed Papi’s advice, singing “Just Bring What You Need.” As everyone climbs into the car, Iris calls for El Exigente to join them, but Shorty protests. Mami and Papi agree that taking the dog on a family picnic is a bad idea. They instruct Iris to leave El Exigente at home. Iris doesn’t know whether to obey or not and shares her dilemma with us in the song “I Don’t Know What to Do.” By the end of the song Iris makes a decision… she sneaks El Exigente into the back of the car! No one notices and before too long they are off to the park singing “We’re On the Way.” (Dog and all!)
As Shorty predicts, the car breaks down. Papi gets to the business of fixing it. As they all wait, Don Joe makes sandwiches while singing “A Sandwich for Everyone,” and El Exigente manages to steal and eat every single sandwich while remaining undiscovered! Iris manages to chase El Exigente away from the sandwiches giving Carmen and Juan the opportunity to demonstrate their love for each other as they sing and dance with their eyes closed, “We Know Each Other Perfectly.” As they dance, they nearly run into the unseen El Exigente throughout! Papi announces that the car is fixed and everyone piles back in, with Iris again smuggling El Exigente aboard. After a short while Papi realizes that he is lost! They seek directions from a Police Officer in “Directions.” Shorty suggests they write the directions down but she is overruled. They hit the road and realize that they cannot remember what the Police Officer told them, just as Shorty had predicted. She laments her situation in “It Isn’t Easy Always Being Right.” Finally, they reach the Enchanted State Park. As they approach, Iris sees the sign… “No Dogs Allowed!” as the family sings “We’re Here/No Dogs Allowed.” As they pile out of the car, Iris can no longer control El Exigente who barks and bounds out of the back seat. The stowaway is discovered!!
As they sing, “Exigente,” Iris admits that she smuggled him aboard. Then, Shorty points out that they have a dog where there are no dogs allowed. El Exigente’s feelings are hurt and he runs away into the theater! Everyone enlists the help of the audience in finding El Exigente. When they do, the whole crew excitedly greets their dog until the question of Iris disobeying her parents is raised in, “The Trial of Iris.” In response, “Iris Explains.” How does it all resolve? The title “Give Us a Hug,” is a pretty good clue! Iris is forgiven but El Exigente is still not allowed to enter the park. What to do? They take turns staying with Exigente in the parking lot, allowing each and every one of them to enjoy some time in the park. In the end, they each spend quality time with the dog until darkness falls and it’s time to pack up and go home. Iris comments that though they had so much trouble, she feels like they spent a terrific day at the park. All agree as they sing “Great Day After All.”
Book by Sonia Manzano Music by Stephen Lawrence Lyrics by Billy Aronson Based on the book by Sonia Manzano “Originally commissioned by Actors’ Playhouse Productions, Inc. at the Miracle Theatre, Coral Gables, Florida. Executive Producing Director, Barbara S. Stein; Artistic Director, David Arisco; Director, Earl Maulding.”
IRIS: Young girl who loves her dog more than anything.
EL EXIGENTE: Beloved family dog.
SHORTY: Exasperated older sister because she always knew when things were going to go wrong. Prone to rolling her eyes in disgust.
PAPI: A clever man who loved fixing things.
MAMI: A doting mother who was always busy doing something domestic.
CARMEN: Mami’s beautiful younger sister.
JUAN: Carmen’s husband. Madly in love with his wife, Carmen.
DON JOE: The neighborhood grocer who thought all problems could be solved with a delicious sandwich.
Fully Orchestrated Performance CD
*Plus 2 Piano/Vocal scores