Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz Superstars

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9781599213538: Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz Superstars
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William Berloni and his company have spent the past thirty years training dogs and cats for Broadway productions, primarily using animals rescued from shelters. As a high schooler in 1976, Berloni had rescued an Airedale mixed breed only hours before it was slated for euthanasia. The terrier was cast as Sandy in the musical Annie and performed there for seven years. The bulldog currently starring in Legally Blonde and her bulldog understudy were rescued from Newark and from North Carolina. Berloni's story is completely engaging as he talks about being the first to train actors to work with animals on stage, his love for mutts over purebreds, as well as the four-acre animal retirement compound where he lives. With photos throughout this delightful book, we learn details about how his dogs are trained, how they react to Broadway life, and his own personal rise to fame. An enchanting writer (whose first book, Doga, has sold more than 350,000 copies for Chronicle) with an inspiring story for animal lovers, theatergoers, and anyone who loved books such as Marley & Me.

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Review:

"[Bill] can do anything you ask, has enormous love for and control of the animals, is kind to them and to humans. He is the best. The one and only." --Mike Nichols "Bill Berloni is a master of his profession. His experience and patience are welcome in any rehearsal room." --Susan Stroman"Bill's genuine love and respect for animals has always been foremost in my thoughts of him. He is guided by compassion, empathy and kindness for all beings, qualities too rarely seen." -Virginia Chipurnoi, President, Humane Society of New YorkAnimal stage trainer Berloni has been rescuing animals and putting them on the boards for more than 30 years, and his career memoir brings with it some expected charms--lovable, heartbreaking animal stories; giddy tales of Broadway success; and showbiz backbiting. His story begins compellingly when, as a 19-year-old intern on the set of the original 1975 production of "Annie", he was charged with finding and coaching the dog that would play Sandy; miraculously, "[t]he dog nobody wanted... that had been run over by a truck just twelve days earlier" played Sandy for seven years. Berloni's at his best when describing his methods or recounting theatre gossip; the chapter about the 1995 "Annie" revival, and the abrupt dismissal of 11-year-old star Joanna Pacitti (who won a contest), is related with real ire (Berloni was friends with Pacitti and her family). Unfortunately, much else is dully dutiful; neither Berloni nor his co-writer Hanrahan bring a particularly strong voice to the typical business of memoir. Since it focuses on his remarkable craft, it should interest animal lovers and fans of Broadway. --"Publishers Weekly"

From the Back Cover:

Bill Berloni was a nineteen-year-old theater apprentice when he was offered his big break: the chance to act professionally if he could find and train a dog to appear in the original production of the Broadway hit Annie. Defying the odds, Bill rescued a dog from a local shelter and, together, they redefined what animal performers could do.
In Broadway Tails, Bill tells the true stories of ?throw-away” animals who came back to co-star with some of entertainment’s biggest names, from Richard Burton to Sarah Jessica Parker. Here you’ll meet:

  • The original Sandy, who starred for seven years in Annie
  • ?St. Vito,” the deaf bull terrier, who saved the show
  • Pi, the first dog to dance with the New York City Ballet
  • Chico, the Chihuahua with attitude who became the face of one of Broadway’s newest hits

Often funny, and always touching, these and other stories demonstrate the extraordinary things rescued animals can do.

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