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Cleveland Play House Announces Casting of Canine Star for Shakespeare in Love

Posted August 23, 2017 in Press Releases


Cleveland Play House Announces Casting of “Spot” in Shakespeare in Love

CLEVELAND, OH (August 22, 2017) Cleveland Play House is proud to announce the casting of canine Broadway star Nigel as the dog “Spot” in CPH’s upcoming production of Shakespeare in Love. Renowned Broadway animal trainer Bill Berloni, of William Berloni Theatrical Animals, is making his Cleveland Play House trainer debut with Nigel.

Nigel was rescued from the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society by guardian/trainer William Berloni in 2008. Berloni has an amazing career rescuing dogs and training them for all forms of media including film, TV and the stage. His training talents have granted him a multitude of recognition, including a Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and most recently the 2017 Drama Desk Award. Berloni is widely recognized as an expert in animal behavior, and for his dedication to rescue work. Through a combination of persistence, patience, and trial-and-error, he developed his revolutionary humane training techniques – learning how to teach actor and animal alike to create a successful performance. Berloni has done just that with Nigel.

Nigel originally made his mark on the stage in a long line of Totos for The Wizard of Oz trained by Mr. Berloni. In 2009 he appeared as “Toto’ in The Wiz opposite Ashanti in New York City. He has been on The Today Show and Dogs 101. He also appeared in the major motion picture Someday This Pain Will Be Useful with Marcia Gay Harden and Toby Regbo. Nigel just finished a two-year long tour of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s production of The Wizard of Oz which played North America, France, and Belgium. Nigel is excited to be making his Cleveland Play House debut in a role that is not “Toto”.

To celebrate Nigel’s appearance in Shakespeare in Love, and to honor Berloni’s work with rescue animals, Cleveland Play House will be offering a donation bin for audience members to drop off toys, blankets, towels and other items to support the great work of our local animal shelters. More information will be available on the Visit portion of the CPH website as details are finalized.


Shakespeare in Love will take place in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square from September 9-October 1, 2017. Tickets range in price from $25-$90 each, $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Subscriptions: Subscribers save up to 50%. Full and flexible season packages range from $262 – $440. To purchase subscriptions or get more information, call 216-400-7096 or visit


WILLIAM BERLONI (Animal Director and Trainer) 2011 Tony Honoree for Excellence in Theatre, 2017 Drama League’s Unique Contribution to the Theatre and 2014 Outer Critics Circle award for Special Achievement. Broadway: THE CRUCIBLE, THE AUDIENCE with Dame Helen Mirren; LIVING ON LOVE; BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, LADY DAY AT THE EMERSON BAR AND GRILL; ANNIE (original and all revivals), A CHRISTMAS STORY THE MUSICAL, LEGALLY BLONDE, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE, CAMELOT, FRANKENSTEIN, THE FIRST, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, OLIVER!, ANYTHING GOES, NICK AND NORA, THE WIZ, (20th Anniversary revival and City Center 2009) THE WIZARD OF OZ, DINNER AT EIGHT, DOUBLE FEATURE (NYCB), THE WOMAN IN WHITE, AWAKE AND SING and THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE. Mr. Berloni is the Animal Director of the new musical BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE with music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin, which was last presented at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival this spring. He has trained animals for hundreds of Off-Broadway, regional theatre, tours, television and movies. Recent films include PATERSON, directed by Jim Jarmusch and IT COMES AT NIGHT directed by Trey Edwards Shultz. He provided the first live dog to play “Nana” in PETER PAN LIVE as well as “Toto” in THE WIZ LIVE, both on NBC. Other television includes POWER, BILLIONS, SNEAKY PETE, SESAME STREET, HIGH MAINTENANCE and MR ROBOT. Mr. Berloni and his family are the subjects of the docu-series entitled WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI on the Discovery Family Channel that premiered in August 2015. Published author of BROADWAY TAILS, DOGA and SANDY THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A STAR. Director of Animal Behavior at the Humane Society of New York. Follow William Berloni Theatrical Animals, Inc. on Facebook and on twitter @BillBerloni.


CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.


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