Annie’s pedigree chum Danny is best in show

He has never missed a performance, been hailed as a “joy to work with” by his current co-star Su Pollard and is expected to set a world record next week for his 50 years-plus in showbusiness.

Fifty dog years, that is. For Danny is a soft-coated wheaten terrier and the star of the touring production of Annie.

On Tuesday (November 22), Danny will celebrate ten years to the day that he first took to the stage (as Sandy) in the production – a feat that looks set to earn him a place in the Guinness World Records, with the title of Most Performances by a Dog in a Theatrical Production.

Danny has worked on the stage for 62 dog years and appeared in around 1,365 productions of Chris Moreno’s production of Annie. His owner Rita Mansell told The Stage she bought Danny after her previous dog, who was also used in theatre productions, died.

“I had not expected to use Danny on the stage, but Chris Moreno got the rights to do Annie and rang me up asking me about him. I said, ‘He’s seven months old and a nutcase’, but Chris asked to try him. And Danny did everything right, and did it quickly. So we’ve been doing it ever since,” she explained.

Mansell said Danny, who often has his own dressing rooms at theatres around the UK, is rewarded for his performances with “cheese and sausages”.

“He always gets a big cheer at the end of the show and when we go outside he gets surrounded by children wanting photographs, but he just takes it all in his stride,” she added.

The touring production of Annie comes to an end on December 31. Mansell said: “He will miss it. We will have to get back to normality, which is strange. But I think it’s time. He’s done enough, bless him.”

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