Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz SuperstarsPublished September 5, 2012
William “Bill” Berloni's book, “Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz Superstars (Lyons Press),” was re-released Tuesday, September 4, 2012 with a brand new chapter on Sunny, a dog Berloni rescued to play Sandy in the new version of the Broadway musical, “Annie.”
Berloni has built an award-winning career out of rescuing dogs and turning them into stars. He’s an expert animal trainer and behavior consultant to the Humane Society of New York.
An Expert on Animal Behavior
Berloni’s first dog training job came when he was 19. It was 1976 and Berloni was interning at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut. They were putting on a production of “Annie,” an unknown musical. The mutt Berloni chose was an Airedale mix only two days away from being euthanized.
“I got the assignment to get the first Sandy as a fluke. I agreed to do a part in a show if I could find and train a dog. I went to an animal shelter because I heard they had cheap dogs. I was so moved to see the animals in this condition.”
He had no way of knowing then that he would become the premier animal trainer for Broadway shows—and film, and TV—over a 30-plus-year career.
It’s the Hard Knock Life
Berloni is convinced that abandoned dogs make the best canine actors. His view is that after their hard knock life landed them in a dog shelter, when finally rescued and treated well, these dogs are grateful, eager to please, and easy to train.
“If a dog can live with the stress of an animal shelter,” Berloni said, “being on stage is a luxury.”
He scouts for dogs that are calm in filthy, noisy, overrun shelters. These types of dogs have the ability to ignore what is going on around them and tend to be able to concentrate fully without becoming distracted by the audience, and actors onstage, in a packed theater performance.
Since its debut in 1977, all Broadway productions of “Annie” have starred real-life shelter dogs rescued and trained by Berloni.
See the Show, Help a Dog
To promote dog adoption, Pedigree© dog food teamed up with “Annie the Musical” to help raise $1 million to help dogs find loving homes. For each ticket sold—now through December 31, 2013—Pedigree will donate $2, up to $1 million to Pedigree Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping abandoned dogs find loving homes.
During the promotion of his newly released paperback, “Broadway Tails,” you can meet Bill Berloni in person at his book signing and author discussion events:
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