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National tour of '101 Dalmatians' is put down

March 31, 2010 |  5:28 pm

Dalmatians Theater organizers have apparently put poor Pongo out of his misery.

The national tour of the new musical "101 Dalmatians" will come to an end earlier than expected following its upcoming April engagement at Madison Square Garden in New York, according to reports.

No official word has been released by Los Angeles publicists but the musical's official website only lists New York as a future tour date.

The production opened in October in Minneapolis at the Orpheum Theatre. As was originally announced, the tour was supposed to include stops in New York, Pittsburgh, L.A., San Diego and other cities.

Broadway/LA had announced that "101 Dalmatians" would play at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood from June 8 to 20. A spokesman for the group said Wednesday that he had just read reports about the tour's premature closing.

When asked if the Pantages engagement will be canceled, the spokesman said, "I would assume that is the case but we don't have confirmation."

"101 Dalmatians" is based on the 1957 novel by Dodie Smith and is not connected to the popular Disney film adaptations. The musical, which was conceived as a touring production, is directed by multiple Tony-winner Jerry Zaks.

For the roles of the dogs, the production used a combination of child actors in canine costumes as well as real dalmatians in certain scenes.

The musical tour appears to have been a troubled one.

Actress Rachel York began the tour in the role of Cruella de Vil but left the production in January and was replaced by Sara Gettelfinger. The show's producers did not give an official reason for York's departure.

On her blog, York described her departure as "one of the most difficult experiences I’ve ever had in saying farewell to a show."

She also wrote that "it would have been impossible for me to stay with the tour and pursue promising opportunities available to me in Los Angeles."

-- David Ng

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