The animal trainer was looking for a dog to play Sandy. A dog called Bruno fit the bill. Unfortunately, the label on her photo said she was male. However, after reading the description, Berloni was convinced she had to be saved.
According to boston.com, he forwarded the photo to Arielle Tepper Madover, one of the producers of Annie. She agreed the dog had to be rescued.
Berloni says, “So I adopted her sight-unseen. I didn’t think she was a candidate for Sandy. Her description was so sweet and she looked very much like the original Sandy that we were just saving her to find her a home.”
When Bruno (now called Sunny) arrived in New York, Berloni saw she was a good possibility for the role. Four months later, he has his new canine star, along with an understudy, Casey. That dog is also a shelter dog, from Nashville Tennesse.
When the musical first opened in 1977, the original Sandy was a shelter dog. Berloni saved her a day before she was to be put down, and she went on to star in nearly all of the show’s 2,377 performances. The dogs who starred in the four national tours and the anniversary productions were also from shelters.
Berloni told VetStreet:
For the last 35 years, I’ve been only using shelter dogs for productions. Because dogs in shelters, there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re actually great, and they make great stars on Broadway and great stars in your home.”
The new production opens on Broadway in October 2012. This time Pedigree dog food is partnering with the show to try to raise $1 million “to help dogs find loving homes.” For every ticket sold through December 31, 2013, the dog food company will donate $2 to its Pedigree Foundation.
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