Last Thursday evening, there were probably many moments from 8 to 10 when you asked yourself, “What is this? What the hell am I watching? Is this television now?” because you were tuned into Peter Pan Live!
But if you were anything like us, the moment Nana came onstage all was right in the world. Heck of a dog. Barked on cue, tromped around like a pony, provided moments of levity in the live-TV-of-a-children’s-musical pressure cooker. Our time with her was all too short, mostly because we turned off the TV long before the thing was over, so it was with a sense of relief the next day when we read that the critics loved her, too.
And no wonder: She was trained by William Berloni, who trained the original Sandy in Annie and countless other stage stars. And as is his habit, Berloni chose a rescue dog for the role. Nana was played by Bowdie, a two-year-old rescue Poodle-mix from Utah, according to the Inquisitr. As the role of Nana is typically played by an actor in a dog costume, kudos to NBC for taking a chance and using a real dog.
Here’s a video of Berloni training the dog on the set. Some of the interesting bits: The dog trained for two weeks on the set, his cues were specific words in character’s lines, and the actors had to train the dog themselves.
“I’ve never trained a dog, ever, before, so this is a really cool experience,” says Jake Lucas, who plays John.
Bowdie isn’t finished with the stage, not by a long shot — the dog is set to be the star in a stage musical based on Kate DiCamillo’s children’s book “Because of Winn-Dixie,” developed by Berloni and his wife.
To keep up with Bowdie and Because of Winn Dixie, visit Theatrical Animals and its Facebook page; also follow Berloni on Twitter.
Photos by NBC
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