Audra McDonald Is Looking For a New Furry Co-Star for Billie Holiday Broadway Show

Auditions are currently underway to star opposite five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald in Broadway’s, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” But this time, producers aren’t in search of stellar singers or accomplished actors. They’re looking for man’s, or rather, women’s best friend.

Fourteen small dogs ranging from English cocker spaniels to toy poodles recently gathered in the lobby of the Circle in the Square Theatre to audition for a role in the musical based on one of Billie Holiday‘s last performances in 1959.

“What we’re looking for is a dog who will portray this character’s best friend at the end of her life,” Broadway animal trainer, Bill Berloni, told the Associated Press. “So relax, everybody. It’s all about the relationship you have with your animal. Be yourself. Show us what’s special about your dog. Don’t worry about putting on a performance.”

More than 100 dogs originally came out to audition, but the group was slowly whittled down to nearly a dozen based on appearance, demeanor and physicality. The dog that is eventually cast will star in one scene with McDonald near the end of the musical as she sings “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.” Though no final casting decisions has been made, Berloni said he was leaning toward two dogs who “wouldn’t upstage Audra and who felt comfortable in her arms.”