There was only one sure way to tell the real horses from the puppets on Tuesday afternoon and that was to see which of the three horses were leaving deposits on the sidewalk in front of the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.
The special event was designed to welcome the cast and crew of “War Horse,” the popular musical that opens tonight as the kick-off to the Victoria Theatre Association’s Broadway series. The show will run Oct. 22-27 at the Schuster Center. In addition to meeting Joey — the star of the show — those gathered with cameras in hand were also introduced to two horses and riders from Miami Valley Mounted Search and Rescue.
“When he gallops and snorts, you think he’s real! ” said an amazed Sheila Gamble of Dayton, one of an estimated 200 people gathered in front of the Schuster to learn more about the puppets created by the Handspring Puppet Company. Standing with her was her granddaughter, Lily.
“We believe Joey is a beautiful work of art, but our job is to make him appear alive,” explained puppeteer Dayna Tietzen, who was putting the horse through his paces.
Judging from the crowd’s reaction, that goal was accomplished.
“I started to tell my granddaughter not to get to close because he might kick!” said Gamble.