Little poodle Blanca was abused and neglected before her rescue. Now she's lighting up the stage at Seattle Center's Cornish Playhouse.

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The story of little Blanca’s life did not begin happily.

The tiny poodle was rescued, along with scores of other dogs, from a King County home about two years ago where the animals were kept in cages, denied food and water and abused, according to animal foster parent and play producer Catherine Weatbrook.

Taken in by the Seattle Animal Shelter and sent to recuperate at a foster home, the then 3-pound dog began her recovery.

Now 6 pounds and thriving, the little white fluff ball is making her stage debut as Sir Joseph Porter’s dog in the production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” at the Cornish Playhouse in Seattle Center.

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Weatbrook, the co-producer of the play, had fostered another dog that was rescued along with Blanca. Her pup, Fozzie Bear, was approved to live with children and went on to join a “wonderful family,” she said. But Blanca ended up staying permanently with her original foster mom, Weatbrook said.

While casting the play, she said she told the director that if he wanted character Sir Joseph Porter to have a small white dog, she had the perfect candidate.

“His eyes lit up,” she said.

Blanca was introduced to the theater slowly, as “it would have been over if she hated violins,” Weatbrook said, but it turns out the highly social dog enjoys her fellow actors, the theater experience and even the full orchestra.

“She’s a gem and a rock star and one more story, among many stories, where a dog has been taken from awful circumstances and had a successful placement,” Weatbrook said.

The play debuts Friday and runs through the end of the month, with shows Thursday through Sunday.