The Wiz: 7 Interesting facts about the dogs who played Toto
After watching last night's production, it's safe to say that The Wiz Live! blew all of NBC's other Live! shows out of the water.
The choreography was on point, the costumes were awesome and the performances were, well — let's just say that every last member of The Wiz Live!'s cast has a massive set of pipes on them.
The only thing that left audience members disappointed was the fact that Dorothy's dear little Toto never made it to Oz. The dog pranced around onstage in Kansas, but was sorely missed in the middle of the production. Toto instantly stole everyone's hearts and left fans wanting more.
Besides the fact that Toto is beyond adorable, here are some things to know about the pooch who played him.
1. There's actually more than one
Taking a page from the Olsen twins' book in Full House, The Wiz Live! had two little dogs learning lines and choreography for the role of Toto. 11-year-old Cairn Terrier Scooter was the dog you saw onstage and Ralphie, who is the same age and breed as Scooter, served as the understudy.
2. They have a famous trainer
Bill Berloni, the man who helped Scooter and Ralphie hit their marks, also trained the dog who played Nana on Peter Pan Live! last year, and he has been coaching canines in Broadway plays since 1977, according to The Wrap.
3. They are rescue dogs
He's not just their trainer, he's their dad! Berloni adopted Scooter and Ralphie from Cairn Rescue USA — a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing purebred Cairn Terriers and mostly-Cairn mixes — just a few months before The Wiz Live! aired in December.
4. They were destined to be stars
"I went out to temperament-test them and the unusual thing was, they were 10 years old, and I thought they might be a little too old for the show," Berloni said in an interview via This Dog's Life. "But when I met them, they were happy and well-trained and housebroken and energetic and I thought, here are two senior dogs who are going to be stars."
It's a pretty crazy turnaround for a senior dog, from pound puppy to rubbing elbows with Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, Ne-Yo and Common.
5. They are total divas
Rumor has it they demanded to bunk with Shanice Williams, who played Dorothy.
6. They have a huge family now
Scooter and Ralphie will now live with Berloni on his ranch in Connecticut with close to 30 other dogs, according to This Dog's Life.
7. They didn't get stage fright
When Scooter and Ralphie rehearsed, they didn't have to soothe a case of opening-day jitters. "They don’t know what an audience is, they don’t know what TV is — all they know is who feeds them, who loves them and, ‘What do I have to do to get a cookie?" said Berloni.