January 20, 2019 | ° F

New Brunswick show collects resources for local pet shelters

Photo by Courtesy of Kelly Blithe |

New Brunswick hosted the Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre on Saturday night, which featured 30 rescue animals performing a series of skits and tricks. The event took place at the New Jersey State theater, five minutes from the Rutgers campus.

The State Theatre New Jersey hosted the world famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater last Saturday, a performance which featured tricks and stunts by rescue animals from shelters all across the country.

Gregory Popovich is a comedian who has been performing for over 30 years. According to his website, Popovich is a lifelong animal rights and protection activist who has been touring the country with 30 performing rescue animals for nine years. 

They host a family-friendly animal show, which includes acts like "the dog classroom" and "the animal train station."

Popovich’s performance at the State Theatre New Jersey is part of his tour that expanded from his stage show in Las Vegas — his most recent performance was on Sunday, April 9. 

The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater was part of the theater's family series, which aims to expose younger audiences to theater and engage them in the craft. 

This year’s family series includes the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater and Dinosaur Zoo Live, a live show featuring life-sized puppets of dinosaurs which will be played on April 30. 

Jason Paddock, the director of event marketing, said that he was proud of the theater’s family series because of its benefits to younger people.

"Well it's definitely in our mission to provide artistic and entertainment programs for everyone in the region, and the family series is very important part of that we want to introduce young audiences to theater and to the arts so this program is very important to that," Paddock said.

Paddock also called the first show on Sunday a relaxed performance and said the theater has accommodations for children with special needs or those who are handicapped to see the show.

"Families who have children who are on the Autism spectrum are welcomed here. We provide a relaxed environment and accommodate their needs," Paddock said.

Paddock said that the show also featured a pet supply and food drive. All the donations from the show will be given to local shelters in New Jersey.

The theater was filled with parents and their young children excited to see the show. Anthony Eaton and his 7-year-old daughter Hailey have been to the State Theatre before to see "Yo Gabba Gabba Live" and said they were back again after seeing the promotion for Popovich's show on TV. 

Hailey said she has been looking forward to the show all week, and hoped to see dogs doing back flips.

Paddock said that the family series is one of the highlights of every new season for the State Theatre because of its contributions to charities, its appeal to young children and its accommodation for children with handicaps such as Autism. 

The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater show was nearly sold out for both performances on Sunday.

Kelly Blithe, the director of communications at the State Theatre, said she is proud of the production and the success that they have seen with audiences of all ages. She said she is also happy that the show, and the theater itself, support such a worthy cause such as helping rescue animals and supporting local shelters.

“Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is a great show for all ages,” Blithe said in an email. “With more than 30 talented animals, all of whom are rescue animals, it really is a sight to see. In celebration of this program, State Theatre is proud to host a pet food and supplies drive and raise awareness for local animal shelters.”

Jacob Turchi

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