The cast of the Play Group Theatre’s upcoming production of “Legally Blonde” have been a little star struck – or puppy struck – this week, as they met and began working with their canine co-stars.
The Theatre has contracted with the trainer of the two dogs who “starred” in the Broadway production of the musical to appear onstage in its show, which will be performed January 12, 13, 19, 20 and 21, at the Play Group Theatre, located at One North Broadway in White Plains.
Bruiser and Rufus, also known as Chico and Nellie, respectively, are trained by famed animal trainer Bill Berloni, who trained the original Sandy for the stage production of “Annie,” as well as hundreds of other animals who have appeared onstage, on television, in movies and in commercials. Berloni, who works exclusively with rescue animals, was the subject of the recent documentary, “Finding Sandy,” about finding a new shelter dog for the 35th anniversary production of Annie, which is currently on Broadway.
PGT actress Jordana Kulak explained that “as many Broadway actors are, these little dogs are such big divas! After running the same scene over and over again Chico got a little grumpy, because he knew that he was doing it right, and I was the one doing it wrong, and he did not want to do it again!” In just one week of rehearsals, Jordana says she has grown so attached to her new cast mates. “Before they were rescued, Nellie and Chico were malnourished and abused. It is amazing to see how happy and content these sweet dogs are, knowing how difficult their lives were before they were rescued. It is so clear how much they love being on the stage!”
In tribute to their furry friends, the cast of the show has created a “dog drive” effort surrounding their show dates where audience and cast members can contribute dog supplies that will be donated to the New Rochelle Humane Society. Items can be dropped in the bins in the PGT lobby at 1 North Broadway through January 21.
“As emerging young artists, our actors are being asked to contribute their time and talent to the community at large, in significant ways,” said Play Group Theatre Artistic Director, Jill Abusch. “It is important that our students learn not only how to be fabulous on stage, but how to bring their fabulous energy off the stage and out into the world, to really make a difference.”
“We are grateful to the Play Group Theatre for approaching us with this idea and look forward to a successful drive and wonderful performance.” said Dianne Heim, member, Board of Directors of the New Rochelle Humane Society, which has been servicing New Rochelle for 101 years and now serves 18 communities in Lower Westchester.
“Legally Blonde” tickets are available at www.playgroup.org or by calling (914) 946-4433