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From the creator of Rochester, LIKAH! is a tale of loss and learning that ranges from monologues to musicals to books and looks straight out of Broadway

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Communicating loss can be difficult for anyone, especially children.

So a local artist, Deborah Haber of DEEP Arts, set out to tell a story based on her own dog, Likah. This journey began when she got Likah as a mate for her older Border Collie whose partner died. The older collie would reject Likah. Over time, both the older collie and Haber’s sister died.

“So it was a life journey, and it’s happening, and it was reflective of what happened to Likah as a puppy and what happened to her older sister,” Haber said.

Not long after, her chronicle of Likah became a story entitled LIKAH!: A Puppy Musical and a performance.

“The 2016 Fringe Festival was our very first reading and it was over at Blackfriar’s Theatre,” she said. “We had two songs and that was it.”

Even with those songs, it wasn’t much more than a monologue. Haber had a few actors, but she had a secret weapon:

She collaborated with EMMY nominee Casey Filliaci.

“We basically did these episodes, and that’s how the show started,” she said, referring to the little stories and anecdotes she would chronicle of Likah.

With about one song per episode, a musical was born. Haber and his team saw the potential and the show grew from there. After developing connections with Disney, she began working with puppet director James Silson.

“For a story like this that explores different themes … Having a puppet allows the show and allows the message to be a lot more accessible,” he said.

Accompanying these puppets are two stories that are also told through these two squirrel puppets who act as the narrator/Greek chorus to drive the plot forward.

The squirrels are funny and the show and book are upbeat – Haber describes the music as toe tapping – but at its core are life lessons and the discussion of loss and learning.

“There are a lot of little life lessons throughout the show,” Haber said. “It’s about life coming into the house, but there’s always a new day and there’s always someone with you, and that’s the message.”

In addition to the musical, Likah’s story is available in the form of a children’s book and now with licensed dog food and toys.

Haber is currently attempting to stage the show in Orlando. From there, the team tries to take over LIKAH! Off Broadway.

The LIKAH! Team partners with Lollypop Farm to help dogs find their forever homes.

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