For the last two years, actor Michael Cox has spent most nights doing a delicate ballet on stage with a large puppet horse named Joey. "It wasn't difficult. The puppeteers are excellent and they bring the horse to life so well. It's second nature to them."
Cox is talking about War Horse, the book that became a play (and eventually Steven Spielberg's movie and six-time Oscar nominee) and winner of five 2011 Tony® Awards including Best Play, now making its way to the Hobby Center courtesy of Gexa Energy Broadway.
Joey is conscripted by the English in World War I. He ends up on both sides of the enemy lines and eventually Albert (played by Cox) goes on a dangerous search for the much loved animal.
Albert ages from 14 to 20 "so there's a lot of growth in the character," Cox says.
The entire endeavor has been a unique experience, Cox says, no less because of occasional glitches. "Occasionally a leg will break," he says and the backstage folks go into action. "If a leg breaks they swarm that thing like a pit crew. They buzz one leg off and put another one on and Joey is right back out there. When an audience sees that and we have to stop and start, the audience really goes crazy."
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War Horse runs May 27-June 1 at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For information call 800-982-2787 or visit BroadwayAtTheHobbyCenter.com or TheHobbyCenter.org. $30- $112.15.