A BULLDOG chosen to appear in a hit musical will be the star of the show – after all, he’s no stranger to the role.
Bertie the British bulldog, beat six other pooches this week win the part of Rufus in Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, in June.
His owner, Diane Pickett, 47, of Carden Avenue, Patcham, said: “We were absolutely thrilled to find out he had gotthe part.
“He’s played Rufus three times before and we’re so proud of him.
“I thought I would cry if he didn’t get it, although it’s been such an experience in the past, it’s something every dog should experience.”
Six-year-old Bertie was the natural choice for the role as he had played Rufus with the Brighton Youth Theatre in 2016 and then twice last year in the University of Chichester’s production and with the Adult Amateur Youth Theatre in Haywards Heath.
The musical is based on the 2001 film of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon and has had long runs on Broadway and the West End.
It includes the tale of Elle Woods, a ditsy blonde who, after being dumped by her boyfriend, for someone more serious enrols in law school to prove him wrong.
Accompanied by her pet chihuahua Bruiser, she enlists some help along the way, including from salon owner Paulette and her dog Rufus.
While Bruiser the chihuahua travels with the show, producers have cast a new Rufus in every city they visit.
In the brief for the casting, the directors asked for “a big, brutish dog that only its mother could love” and that the dog act as naturally as possible.
Bertie fitted the bill perfectly.
Diane said: “It’s like he was made for the role.
“He was so relaxed in the audition, he just swept through it – he’s a natural star.”
But when asked whether Bertie was likely to appear in more adaptations of Legally Blonde in the future, Diane said this year’s appearance may be the end of the bulldog’s stardom.
She said: “To be behind the scenes is such a treat, to be part of this massive thing is just such a magical journey.
“But this might be our retirement.
“We never thought we would have a dog appear on stage, and I can’t imagine that it would get as good as this again. Being told he had won the part was better than winning Crufts.”
Legally Blonde, starring X Factor winner Lucie Jones and EastEnders’ Rita Simons, comes to the Theatre Royal from June 11 to 16.