Pets of Broadway: Head Over Heels’ Samantha Pollino and Frankie

Pets of Broadway aims to highlight Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional productions while inspiring audiences through positive tales of pet owners in the business. We’ll be sharing the brand’s stories every other Thursday, so check back to read more about your favorite actors and actresses and their amazing animals!


I moved to New York right after I graduated college and about two weeks after I moved to the city I booked Hamilton Chicago. It was really exciting but I had just moved to this new place where all my friends were and then all of a sudden I was moving to Chicago. I didn’t know anyone there so it was a little bit stressful. I had been joking around saying I was going to get a dog since I was living alone in Chicago and I needed a companion, but one day seriously, I said ‘let’s just go seek out some places’ and she was the only dog I looked at.

They said she was the last of her litter and she was the runt. When I first got her she was really skinny. I don’t know If she was the last one because people thought there was something wrong with her because Frenchie’s are usually really chubby. She had more skin than she had body. They lowered her price a little bit because they couldn’t find anyone who wanted her. She sat in my lap and looked at me and I thought ‘first of all, this dog looks like me, and then she looked up at me and two hours later I’m on the train with her back to New York. I named her Francesca after Bridges of Madison county. A French bulldog with an Italian name.


I got her when she was about two months old and then two weeks later we moved to Chicago and I went straight into tech. It was really stressful but she’s a pretty good girl and I lived close to the theater but because I lived alone, for our first year together, it was literally just Frankie and I and she became very attached to me. She’s a good girl.

We come to the dog park and she just sits in my lap. Because of her breed, she’s pretty good to just lay around all day. She’s a lazy little girl. She likes to watch Sex in the City. I feel like she’s definitely a Carrie. She’s very attentive. She watches tv and listens to music. I’ve snuck into my apartment and she’s sitting on the bed looking at my tv. She spent some time with my parents when I was out in San Francisco doing Head Over Heels and they would catch her watching the news. They would look over and she would be sitting on the couch watching with a look on her face like she was thinking about something.

She didn’t fully grow until she was a year old so she runs into furniture all the time. I don’t think she knows how much momentum she has. I think she has no idea how big her head is so when she jumps up to kiss people she knocks them in the face but has no idea. She filled out. She’s a pretty decent size. She just had to grow into her skin and her ears. Her ears have always been the same size so they looked huge when I first got her.


I remember when I was packing to leave New York and unpacking in Chicago I would put her in her crate and if she could see me from her crate she would scream. I would put on musical theater soundtracks and anytime I would put on the Hamilton soundtrack, she would get silent and just curl up.

The one horror story I have makes me sound like a really privileged person. I was starting to phase out of crate training and the first thing I let her do was sleep with me and she was fine. One night on cinco de mayo I had one too many margaritas and came home and fell asleep on my couch and she was sleeping with me and was fine. I woke up the next morning and she had eaten the one designer bag I had. It was like a movie scene. I woke up and the emblem from my bag was on my knee and I’m like ‘what is this?’ I look up and there’s leather everywhere and she’s just looking up smiling. Then she was pooping leather for the next two weeks which couldn’t have been fun for her so that was punishment enough. Other than that I was always worried she would eat my tap shoes but she never did anything like that. We got show notes in Hamilton and one time she ate my notes so I sent a picture to our associate choreographer and said ‘my dog ate my homework! Sorry!’ There were really no crazy horror stories. She’s smart and knows she can’t really get away with anything so she never tried to pull one over on me.

If we spoke the same language, I would want her to tell me if she loves me. I think she loves me. She’s very attached to me but she also gets annoyed with me. I think if I could talk to her I would tell her she’s my favorite little being in the world. She’s the best. We are very very very attached. If you look at my camera roll it’s just selfies of us. Every time I get my headshots done she comes with me and gets pictures taken. Gotta have portraits.

See Samantha Pollino in Head Over Heels at the Hudson Theatre.

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