If the title of Alley Repertory Theatre's latest production sounds vaguely familiar, that's because it's taken from a nursery rhyme:
Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
But this Little Dog is an adults-only, Tony Award-nominated play by Douglas Carter Beane, who wrote the screenplay for the 1995 road-trip comedy To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, starring John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes and the late Patrick Swayze as drag queens. Beane's Little Dog digs much deeper than moons and spoons, exploring elements of homophobia in Hollywood through the story of Mitchell, a budding movie star who is navigating a new love interest--a male escort--while still dating his current girlfriend. Tricky enough on its own, the real catch is that the would-be star Mitchell isn't ready to identify as homosexual. His brutal, unrelenting talent agent, on the other hand, will never be ready, since she is adamant his acting prospects will be limited should the industry get wind of his sexual orientation.
This isn't the first go-round for ART and The Little Dog Laughed. The group used the play as a springboard into its inaugural season in 2008. Since then, ART has continued its mission of serving up "innovative theater" that encourages "lively dialogues and critical reflection on current events."