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The benefit performance Canine Capers: "Mutts Gone Nuts" will be among the last Opening Nights events for retiring director Michael Blachly

A brown dog wearing a yellow smock stares into the camera
Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media
Members of the Tallahassee/Leon County Animal Shelter Foundation brought along "Leo" as a motivator for those attending the performances to consider a shelter animal as their next pet.

Despite some COVID-induced setbacks, Florida State University's Opening Nights series of popular performing arts offerings continues. This Saturday's performances featured talented rescue dogs onstage at Tallahassee Community College's Turner Auditorium.

The "Mutts Gone Nuts" program had a multitude of happy hounds displaying gymnastic and even comic skills as they got the better of their human companions. Opening Nights Director Michael Blachly said the idea was to appeal to the widest possible audience base.

"We want our program to reflect our community. We want something for everyone. We want people to look at the lineup that we have and say, 'Oh, there's something that appeals to me!' So the challenge will continue to be finding good quality family programming and supplementing what's already happening around Tallahassee, which is very strong."

Saturday's twin performances were also a benefit for the Tallahassee/Leon County Animal Shelter Foundation. They were also among the last to take place with Blachly in charge of Opening Nights. He had earlier announced he'll be retiring from the director's role around the middle of next month.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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