Meet Rue and Stacey Weingarten

After a hit run Off-Broadway, this little pup is ready for her next new adventure in your hometown! Rescue Rue is now available for licensing! To celebrate, we sat down with creator, Stacey Weingarten, to talk about how this real-life pup became a big-city star of the stage! 

Stacey Weingarten is an Emmy-winning multi-hyphenate specializing in writing, directing, and producing musical- and puppet- infused works, especially for kids/families (but not always!). She’s worked everywhere from “Sesame Street” to “Avenue Q” with everyone from Kermit the Frog to Julie Andrews, and develops projects that promote social awareness through entertainment through Chinese Mother Jewish Daughter LLC


Rescue Rue is the story of a little dog going on a big adventure to find her fur-ever home. Why do you think it is important to tell this story?

It’s important to tell Rue’s story so kids and families are reminded that they’re not alone on the journey of life – a journey full of ups and downs– and happy new beginnings, not endings! It’s easy to think that life is about getting to an end result and things will simply be over or better and so on – but life’s really about enjoying the journey and looking for how each new “ending” is a new start. You graduate pre-school and the excitement of elementary awaits, then you graduate elementary and the excitement of middle school, and so on. Almost nothing is truly finite, and there is always hope on the horizon if you look for it, fight for it, and believe in it… which is also a key message of Rue’s story. Rue makes choices, faces consequences – and earns her own ‘happy new beginning’. The real Rue is also proof you can find inspiration and magic in the everyday… and soulmates come in all shapes and sizes.


Can you tell us about the creation process?

Rescue Rue is the mostly-true story of Rue, a chi-mix I adopted in February 2012. Rue was saved by the Badass Animal Rescue, a group based in Brooklyn, NY, that specializes in pulling dogs from high-kill Southern shelters and bringing them north to find “Furever Homes” in NYC. I saw her on Petfinder and went to “just look” at an adoption event one fateful Superbowl Sunday. It was beshert or kismet or whatever you’d like to call it: meant to be. As I fell in love with my quirky perfect-for-me pup over our first months together, I wondered what her rescue journey north was like, and Rescue Rue was born! 

I didn’t know all of her backstory, just that she was found on the street in WV, with signs of fleas and severely underweight, then sent north thanks to a rescue worker who thought she’d be a good fit for NYC. So, I started piecing what I did know from what clues I had into a short story about her journey to “the Big Chew Toy” (aka NYC), including the Fairy Dogmother she must’ve had that helped guide her to me (because how else did the perfect pup land in my lap?). Once the short story was written, I used it as an outline for writing the book of the stage musical since musicals have always been my favorite artform, and would have heightened emotional stakes to bring Rue’s story to life. On a whim, I submitted the unfinished musical – a full book with some temporary lyrics– to the NY Children’s Theatre Festival. It got higher marks in the adjudication process than anyone expected, and the kind folks who ran the festival said they would give the show a chance if I promised it would be finished in time. I promised, and was indeed finished (at least the first draft, after bringing on board some fabulous musical collaborators!). The show was received well, and soonafter flipped into the NY Musical Festival where it charmed more audience and critics. I’m grateful we got to have developmental production experiences since there’s only so much you can learn from readings (which we did while prepping for production as well).  It was another few years of readings and workshops– and the addition of some new songs with additional collaborators–  before plans to bring the show Off-Broadway were made… unfortunately, right on time to be put on hold due to the pandemic. But we eventually filmed the show (something we felt we could safely plan for in pandemic times) and that filmed production transferred to the DR2 for Rescue Rue’s Off-Broadway premiere! Fun fact: the real Rue has not missed any performances of her show to date… even though I have!


What do you hope audiences take away from this story?

My hope is that audiences will think twice about purchasing a pet when they can go to a local shelter or rescue instead, which is always an option. Animals that are in the shelter system aren’t inherently broken or dangerous, they’re also not inherently mutts or mixes if you’re hoping for a purebred. And last but not least – adult animals – including seniors!-- are just as deserving of a new home as the babies… sometimes it’s even a better fit since they’re already trained or you simply know how big they’re going to get!



Learn more about Rue & Stacey Weingarten at or @Rescuerue on social! 

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