Mark’s Note: The next few posts will be written by our Shetland Sheepdog puppy, Riley.
When the casting call went out for the roll of Sandy in the latest production of Annie, I had not considered an acting career. Frankly, I hadn’t considered much of anything except playing, pooping, eating and sleeping. After all, I was only four months old.
But I had a stage sister.
I couldn’t have a stage mother, because I left my mom (the bitch!) when I was just eight weeks old. But my human sister Casey, who loves live theater, decided that I should become the star she never was and never wanted to be. So she submitted my admittedly sparse résumé to the casting director.
Age: 4 mths.
Wt: 9.8 lbs.
Abilities: High-pitched barking, adorably ineffectual growling, imitations of squeaky toys, jumping in place, chasing sticks, random running around, (mostly) good boy.
Previous Experience: “Carsick puppy” in The Hallens Take Their Puppy for a Ride
Now, even Casey would have confessed that getting the role was a longshot, for not only did I lack stage credentials, but, as you can see from my head shot above, I look nothing like any “Sandy” you’ve ever seen. Nevertheless, she made an audition tape to send with my résumé. It’s very brief, and you can watch it by clicking here. I suppose if I ever become a star, this video will show up on all the “Before They Were Famous” websites.
For some reason, the casting director doubted my singing voice, so he asked for proof of my other abilities. Here is me doing my squeaky toy imitation. I’m really good at it. (Mark’s note: this is an undoctored video; he really does this.)
Anyway, to make a long story short, the casting director said I could come in for an audition. This would probably be a good time to let you know that we are talking about a middle school production of Annie here…a middle school where my sister is employed as a teacher.
So on March 30, Casey took me to school, which is something she’d been looking for an excuse to do ever since I joined her family. I’m proud to say I only threw up once in the car on the way.
After spending an enjoyable couple of hours hanging out with the cast and getting a taste of the theatrical life (not to mention a taste of a lot of treats), it was time for my audition.
The girl playing Annie called me and I had to run across the stage to her, even though she called me Sandy instead of Riley. Then I had to sit with her while she sang “Tomorrow,” which she did very well, although, if we’re being honest, that may be the second most annoying song ever written, right after “Maggie May.”
I nailed it! I got the part without even a callback! You may wonder how I could get a part meant for a much larger, much beiger dog. Here’s how:
(And also there were no other candidates for the role.)
And because the middle school make-up department isn’t all that sophisticated, they changed a line in the play to explain why I don’t look anything like Sandy is supposed to look. Annie says I’m called Sandy because of the brown on my face. It’s weak, I know. My human dad Mark had another idea, that Annie should say she found me on the beach, but then why would the poor orphan girl have been at the beach?
But think of it. Here’s a musical that’s been performed like a gazillion times, been made into two movies, and provided the song that every child actor has sung at auditions for the past 30 years or so. And they changed the script specifically for me.
How wonderful am I?
I was so tired and overjoyed after my audition, I fell asleep in the car on the way home and forgot to vomit. I slept well that night, knowing I had my first big break.
To be continued…