Leapin' Lizards!

Annie charms Bass Concert Hall with an adorable cast and memorable music

Annie charms Bass Concert hall with adorable cast, memorable music

Annie the Musical
Annie plays Bass Concert Hall, April 21-26. Photo by Joan Marcus

Annie, the classic story of a fiery redheaded orphan on a quest to find her parents, will have everyone singing, "The sun will come out tomorrow," with eight shows at Bass Concert Hall, April 21-26.

The Broadway favorite is a well-known tale, but what you may not know is the story behind Sandy, Annie's adorable dog. In my four years writing entertainment stories for CultureMap, I’ve never received an actor bio for a dog, until now. As they say, there are no small parts, only small actors. In this case, the latter is true!

Sunny, a 4-year-old terrier mix rescued from Houston, and Macy, who spent time in a prison dog training program, play the part of Sandy in the national tour of Annie. Most of the pups that have played the part of Sandy over the years (including the dog featured in the latest big screen Annie remake), learned their tricks from famous animal trainer William (Bill) Berloni.

An aspiring actor at the time, Berloni agreed to find and train a dog to play Sandy in the original 1976 stage production of Annie. Through persistence, patience and old-fashioned trial and error, he developed his own humane training techniques. His original Sandy spent seven years on Broadway.

Nearly 40 years later, he’s a recognized expert in dog behavior (whose work has been seen in theater, television and films) and a committed animal rescue advocate. All of the animals he’s recruited to play the part of Sandy in Annie over the years, including the original dog, were rescued. When the canines retire from acting, Berloni gives them a home on his large, Connecticut farm.

With cute dogs and cute kids, is it any wonder that Annie still has mass appeal nearly 40 years after its stage debut? It’s a rags-to-riches story set to a memorable soundtrack of catchy songs that will have you believing in fairytales.

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Fall in love with the famous redhead and her precious pup at Bass Concert Hall, April 21-26. Tickets start at $30. Sorry, no dogs allowed!