The hustlers

The Little Dog Laughed

The Little Dog Laughed, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday; $12-$20. Closet Door Theatre Company at Ooley Theatre, 2007 28th Street; (916) 222-4932; Through May 11.

The Ooley Theatre

2007 28th St.
Sacramento, CA 95818

(916) 452-1764

Rated 4.0

Closet Door Theatre Company, a new acting troupe nearly two years in the making, has introduced itself in a big way—with a production of Douglas Carter Beane’s sex farce and thought-provoking comedy, The Little Dog Laughed.

Closet Door aims “to provide LGBT entertainment to a city deprived of it since the unfortunate fall of Lambda Players,” says Rich Jones, one of the CDTC co-founders. They’ve made an excellent choice for their first—a small but ambitious play with some bite. Noemi C. Rios co-directs with Erik Mann.

The Little Dog Laughed is about a closeted rising-star actor named Mitchell (played with accessible charm by Dougie Pieper); his ambitious, hard-charging Hollywood agent Diane (Kristen Wagner, who blows on and off stage in a whirlwind of words); Alex, a young “straight” hustler Mitchell summons to his hotel room one night in a bout of drunken loneliness; and Ellen, Alex’s girlfriend and a bit of a hustler herself. Shane Burrows—young, good-looking and completely believable—abandons himself (and his clothes, briefly) to the role of Alex, while Chelsea Barone holds back just a bit too much as Ellen.

The plot involves Diane’s efforts to secure movie rights to a hot, new play for Mitchell, if only she can keep his “slight recurring case of homosexuality” out of the public domain as Mitchell and Alex struggle with feelings that might be love. There’s no real happy ending for these protagonists, but Beane delivers one that is, at least, happily real.