A homeless 10-year old caramel-blonde cocker spaniel bested 11 other shelter dogs in an audition Thursday, winning a walk-on role in a Broadway musical production of “Annie” in December.
Whiskey, who was surrendered by its owner four months ago, dutifully posed for the cameras, eagerly chased a cookie when asked to, and even gave Marissa O’Donnell, the 12-year-old actress who plays “Annie,” a big surprise kiss.
That was all Whiskey had to do to win over the judges, members of the media, and about 100 onlookers at the Madison Square Garden where the auditions were held.
“He was actually my first choice because he’s not restless and he’s quite friendly and not afraid of people,” O’Donnell told Reuters. O’Donnell, a native New Yorker, will play the title role in the musical, which returns to the New York stage in December for the first time in 10 years.
“Annie” features the adventures of a young orphan girl in finding a family that will take her. Sandy, the main dog in the musical, is played by Lola, picked up from the Connecticut Humane Society.
Brian Hoffman, one of the show’s dog trainers, said having a disciplined and well-behaved dog, like Whiskey, was really important because there would be loads of people and kids in the show.
“It’s important that he’s not agitated by the stream of activity. We really needed a poised and confident dog and we found that in Whiskey,” said Hoffman.
Whiskey is currently under the care of the Humane Society of New York, an animal shelter, and the organization’s director hopes that by winning a part in “Annie”, he would find a new home. The dog and his son Cocoa were surrendered to the animal shelter in June because their owners could no longer care for them.
“We hope that through ‘Annie’, Whiskey would finally find a home,” said Anne-Marie Karash, director of Humane Society.