In honor of this week's Spotlight on Animal Trainers episode, we asked friends of the podcast about their favorite moments of working with pets onstage. Podcast guest Eddie Korbich tells us about working with the dogs in Broadway's A Christmas Story.
"The important thing was that I bonded with the dogs. After the show was in previews and they were comfortable with John [Bolton, the actor that Eddie understudied,] I got introduced to them and would visit them in their basement "dressing room", which was like a big kennel and spend time bonding and becoming one of their "Alphas."
"This happened before every show even if we had two shows a day. Other cast members were strongly discouraged to be near them during this process to lessen confusion."
"They both had different personalities of course and one was food rewarded and the other was praise rewarded. Pete the male was skittish and then one day the fake turkey leg (hard plastic) fell off of the tray while they were in the wings and bonked him on the head. And from then on when he saw the turkey he refused to go on for the scene's entrance so we just had the female who rocked it every night! Then when we pulled out the special goodie treat to lead them around the stage Pete would come bounding on to get the food and the scene would finish perfectly."
"These were big goofy Bloodhounds and they tore across the stage loping up and down on their first entrance. The first performance in front of a full house our female dog skidded to a stop dead center and just looked at the audience for a couple seconds as if to say, "Who are all of you people?" and then continued on --- hysterical!"
Listen to Eddie on our episode on Original Cast Recordings.