Hana Lass as Blue Dog and Basil Harris as Yellow Dog get in a fender bender in ‘Go, Dog. Go!’

Hana Lass as Blue Dog and Basil Harris as Yellow Dog get in a fender bender in ‘Go, Dog. Go!’

One might say it’s easier to dream up songs and jokes and visuals for a 75-minute long musical about a children’s book than it would to write and draw the children’s book itself.

Not so with “Go, Dog. Go!” Steven Dietz and Allison Gregory’s highly imaginative musical based on the P.D. Eastman classic children’s book of the same name playing at Seattle Children’s Theatre.

One might think it even more difficult to think up staging, costumes and choreography and songs around a book that has a mere 517 words. But a lot can be done with few words.

Consider the opening. MC Dog, heroically played by veteran SCT actor Tim Hyland. He ambles onto the stage from the aisles as an unwitting patron of the arts, wearing a hat and overcoat and snapping pictures while house manager Oliver Trimble explains to the audience the no-cell phone and no eating rules. He then hands Hyland the show’s playbill and departs. Sitting on a box, Hyland examines the pages and from the wings comes a French accordionist (Robertson Witmer) who Hyland recognizes from the playbill. The accordionist then astonishes MC Dog by pointing to MC Dog’s picture in the playbill. MC Dog takes his overcoat off to reveal he has a black-and-white spotted jumpsuit on and a springy tail behind. He takes off his hat and two floppy ears fall down the sides of his head. And then a blue baseball cap magically descends from the lights above. And with that, the fourth wall vanishes and the musical begins.

And the seamless transitions continued throughout the evening. Taking cues from the book designed for beginning readers, MC Dog announces the other dogs: Blue Dog (Hana Lass), Yellow Dog (Basil Harris), Green Dog (Vickielee Wohlbach), Red Dog (Carter J. Davis). The dogs work. The dogs play. The dogs eat lunch. They swim under water and melt in the hot yellow sun. Interspersed throughout the dog doings comes Hattie (Angie Louise), the luxuriously fashionable pink poodle. All the commotion stops as she sashays onto the stage singing a scatty little number a la Ella Fitzgerald and donning an elaborately silly hat. She asks MC Dog, “Do you like my hat?” To which MC Dog replies, “I do not.”

And then the dogs get back to their antics. And there are no dead dogs in this show. The set design (Michael Sommers) is awash in bright colors. The dog cars have functioning hoods and a spotlight moon is as light as a feather when Lass mimes with it.

And each actor brings something unique. Witmer is glass-o-cab cool on the accordion, Louise is hilarious as Hattie, Lass adds a sweetness to Blue Dog, Davis as Red Dog can’t seem to get his salt shaker to work, you felt the frustration of Harris as Yellow Dog, the only dog without a tree; and Wohlbach as Green Dog was the first to break with a smile when a child in the audience decided to sing along during a skillful “Bow Wow” song written by Michael Koerner.

At SCT, it’s understood that children will be present to a point where it can be a distraction. Not so at “Go, Dog. Go!” which held kids captive all the way.