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Sylvia – Good for the Soul.

The Wednesday evening Sylvia Stories VIP Reception and Special performance was a resounding (make that a howling) success. As the rain poured outside, the atmosphere inside was upbeat with conversations revolving around – what else? Dogs. It seemed everyone had their own Sylvia story.

Catering by Mattison’s – complete with a full bar, was fabulous. Chef Paul Mattison even stopped by to check on things and talked a bit about his own dog Gemini. Deborah Millman, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Sarasota County and the shelter’s events coordinator, Ginny Armington were in attendance with two adoptables, Duncan and Bandit.

DJ Alan of Beach Breeze Weddings set the tone with some great jazz music. People streamed happily into the two lobbies of the beautiful Florida Studio Theatre bringing their donations of dog food for HSSC’s Food Pantry. Gift baskets provided by Wet Noses Dog Boutique, HSSC and The New Barker dog magazine were raffled off just before curtain call. Christine Baer, owner of Wet Noses Dog Boutique said, “This is one of the most exciting events I have ever participated in. From beginning to end, it was a success for everyone involved, especially with the food donation of 900 pounds that The New Barker arranged for the Humane Society of Sarasota.”

The evening’s performance of the play Sylvia, A.R. Gurney’s romantic comedy starring man’s best friend, was at once hilarious and poignant. The actress who played the part of Sylvia (the dog), Katharine Abbruzzese was adorable. Every dog owner in the audience laughed knowingly at her dog antics and personality. Kris Logan-Walker, owner of Fluffy Puppies in Clearwater and photographer Laura Allen were in attendance. “It was a great story. I had a good healthy laugh, which I really needed. The story was good for the soul,” said Laura.

Danae DeShazer of Florida Studio Theatre said the audience from Wednesday evening’s performance was one of the best during the play’s five-week run so far. “The actors were energized by the enthusiasm and response from the audience,” said Danae.

Sylvia runs through this Sunday, August 29. There are still tickets available. Remember to bring an unopened bag or can of dog food and enjoy the show. Hey. Hey. Hey.

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