Where do you find a pooch to play the faithful companion to a feisty orphan? A rescue shelter is a good place to start.
In the new TV special “Annie’s Search for Sandy,” Broadway’s preeminent animal trainer searches shelters across the country to find just the right pup to become Broadway’s newest Sandy. The 30-minute program, focusing on the work of Bill Berloni, is hosted by Al Roker and airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC4NY.
Berloni, a Tony Award honoree for his work with animals on the Great White Way, discovered Broadway’s first Sandy at a shelter in 1977 and has since been committed to finding all of his Broadway stars in local shelters.
He eventually discovers Sunny, Annie’s newest canine pal, just a day before she was scheduled to be put to sleep. Sunny, pictured above with “Annie” star Lilla Crawford, is a 2-year-old terrier mix from a city pound in Houston.
“Annie’s Search for Sandy” explains how Sunny got the gig: viewers will see how Berloni works with Crawford on preparing Sunny for her stage debut, and will pick up training tips for their own dogs.
“Annie” is now in previews and opens Nov. 8 at the Palace Theatre. The musical stars two-time Tony winner Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan, Australian star Anthony Warlow making his Broadway debut as Daddy Warbucks and 11-year-old Crawford as Annie.
Roker talks about the special in the video below.