Walking With Dinosaurs Comes To New York 5/18
Dinosaurs return to the earth in a live theatrical arena show, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience, based on the award-winning BBC Television Series. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience is now on tour in North America for two years and will perform 12 performances Madison Square Garden in New York City. Over 1,000,000 Americans have already seen the production since it opened in July 2007. The show originated in Australia where it played several sold-out months.
American Express Cardmembers can get advance tickets beginning Wednesday, May 7th at 9am through Sunday, May 17th at 9pm. Tickets for the general public go on sale on Sunday, May 18th at 9am by calling 212-307-4111, on-line at www.thegarden.com or in person at the Madison Square Garden Box Office. For groups, please call 212-465-6080.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience is brought to North America by The Creature Production Company, headed by CEO Carmen Pavlovic. Pavlovic said, "The BBC Series was a brilliant blend of special effects, escapism, excitement and information. Our show has that -- and it's live. In this show, fifteen roaring, snarling "live" dinosaurs mesmerize the audience - and are as awe-inspiring as when they first walked on earth."
Pavlovic continued, "This is a show that could only fit in arenas - as the creatures are so absolutely immense in size. Audiences seated in the lower seats are all but overwhelmed by the dinosaurs, while those seated in higher seats can view the entire spectacle and panorama of the production. It is the closest you'll ever get to experiencing what it was like when they walked and ruled the earth."
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience has sold out performances and broken records in arenas all over the America - generating more than $50 million in ticket sales to date. It has been seen on "The Today Show," Good Morning America," "Live with Regis and Kelly," and has been written about in Newsweek, The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and the Wall Street Journal. It is the subject of a Discovery Channel "Really Big Things" episode and has been a category on "Jeopardy."
The production has won the 2007 THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Touring Event. The THEAs recognize excellence in the creation of compelling educational, historical, and entertainment projects.
Artistic Director William May developed the creative vision of the show based on an original idea by entrepreneur Bruce Mactaggart to create an arena version of the "Walking with Dinosaurs" television series.
A talented and experienced team of creative artists came together to produce WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience. The show is directed by Scott Faris, a Broadway veteran who has worked side by side with Harold Prince, Trevor Nunn, Michael Blakemore, Gene Saks, John Caird, Tommy Tune and Jerry Zaks. The creatures are designed and built by Sonny Tilders; the set and projected image design are by Peter England; the show's lighting is by John Rayment, our score was composed by James Brett; and Warner Brown wrote the script.
Tim Haines, creator and producer of the original BBC series, which was seen by a worldwide audience of 700 million, serves as Project Consultant to WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience. The series won six Emmy and three BAFTA Awards.
After years of planning, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS came to life at Sydney's Acer Arena in January 2007. The show proved itself such a sensation, that this North American tour was fast-tracked. It began a short three months after completing its engagements in Australia.
Ten species are represented from the entire 200 million year reign of the dinosaurs. The show includes the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the terror of the ancient terrain, as well as the Plateosaurus and Liliensternus from the Triassic period, the Stegosaurus and Allosaurus from the Jurassic period and Torosaurus and Utahraptor from the awesome Cretaceous. The largest of them, the Brachiosaurus is 36 feet tall, and 56 feet from nose to tail. It took a team of 50 - including engineers, fabricators, skin makers, artists and painters, and animatronic experts - a year to build the original production.
The show depicts the dinosaurs' evolution, complete with the climatic and tectonic changes that took place, which led to the demise of many species. With almost cinematic realism, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS has scenes of the interactions between dinosaurs, and the audience sees how carnivorous dinosaurs evolved to walk on two legs, and how the herbivores fended off their more agile predators.
The history of the world is played out with the splitting of the earth's continents, and the transition from the arid desert of the Triassic period is given over to the lush green prairies and forces of the later Jurassic. Oceans form, volcanoes erupt, a forest catches fire -- all leading to the impact of the massive comet, which struck the earth, and forced the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Variety said, "The dinosaurs are stunning, life-size and faultlessly nimble. In act one, the beasts parade into the arena gnashing and cavorting as a safari-suited paleontologist describes their attributes in the second half, the action cranks up, culminating in a spectacular clash as a T-Rex mom defends her baby from predators. Sonny Tilders' triumphant creature design ensures 'Walking With Dinosaurs' is a truly spectacular spectacular. It is everything a dino-phile could want."
The New York Times said that in this show dinosaurs make "a thundering comeback after 65 million years."
Gloria Goodale of the Christian Science Monitor said, "When the dinosaurs start pouring out onto the stage, if you don't have to stifle the natural flight response of any living breathing being, then it's your pulse that needs checking."Newsweek called the show, "that rare entertainment beast that parents and kids can enjoy together."
It took 50 artists and technicians one year to build the show. The 15 dinosaurs were originally "hatched" by Tilders, the head of creature design, in a Melbourne Docklands workshop big enough to park a 747. For the North American tour, the only building large enough to house rehearsals for the dinosaurs - some as large as 36 ft tall by 56 ft long, was the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center!
Artistic Director William May is known around the globe for co-producing shows with Malcolm Cooke for the past 30 years, including The Hobbit and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. He produced Marilyn An American Fable on Broadway and co-composed and wrote the musical Always for the West End.
Director Scott Faris directed Michael Crawford in EFX at MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, which at the time was the biggest stage production ever conceived, and was on the production team that created Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Hotel. Faris directed the London production of Chicago, as well as productions of Les Miserables, City of Angels, Cats, Grease and the 2007 national tour of Sweet Charity starring Molly Ringwald.
Faris said, "We take the audience on a journey back in time and show them how the dinosaurs might have actually looked in their prime - huge, sometimes frightening, sometimes comical monsters - that fought for survival every day of their lives. Our dinosaurs move exactly like they are real -- with all the roars, snorts and excitement that go with it. The realism is mind-blowing!"
Sonny Tilders, who designed and built the creatures has been, for the past decade, one of the major creative forces of the high-tech world of animatronic puppetry for film and television. He was one of the lead animatronic engineers for Jim Henson's Creature workshop on the Farscape series, followed by work on Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Peter Pan, Ghost Rider and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Tilders said, "Many of the technologies we are using on WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience are borrowed from film. The computer software and hardware we have developed is based on the systems used to control animatronic creatures in feature films.""To make it appear that these creatures are flesh and blood weighing six, eight or even 20 tons, we use a system called 'muscle bags,' made from stretch mesh fabric and filled with polystyrene balls, stretched across moving points on the body. These contract and stretch in the same manner that muscle, fat, and skin does on real creatures."
"The puppeteers use 'voodoo rigs' to make many of the dinosaurs move. They are miniature versions of the dinosaurs with the same joints and range of movement as their life-sized counterparts. The puppeteer manipulates the voodoo rig and these actions are interpreted by computer and transmitted by radio waves to make the hydraulic cylinders in the actual dinosaur replicate the action, with a driver hidden below the animal, helping to maneuver it around the arena." Suited puppeteer specialists, who are inside the creatures, operate five of the smaller dinosaurs.
Warner Brown wrote the script of WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience. He is an accomplished writer whose works include the book of the musical Flickers on Broadway, the screenplay of Nijinsky for Regent Entertainment, the musical The Black and White Ball, which features music by Cole Porter and The Truth About Light, written with composer Jimmy Roberts. Other credits include a new version of Half A Sixpence for the West End in 2008, Garbo - The Musical with music by Jim Steinman and Michael Reed, playing in Europe, and the plays and musicals Scandal, The Biograph Girl, Six for Gold, Cinderella, Talullah for a Day and Dance for Life.
The score of WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience is by James Brett, additional writer, orchestrator and conductor of 20th Century Fox's Alien vs. Predator and Miramax's Ella Enchanted. Brett helped create the groundbreaking collaboration between Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony as assistant Musical Director alongside Michael Kamen; the album sold 5 million copies worldwide.
The sets and projections are by the internationally renowned designer Peter England, a frequent collaborator at Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet. He designed the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, was a co-designer of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, designed three City of Sydney New Year's Eve Celebrations and was a finalist in the international design competition for the Pentagon Memorial in Washington DC.
Lighting Designer John Rayment lit the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games; Hong Kong's original A Symphony of Light, a massive cityscape permanent lighting display involving over 18 buildings; Singapore's 2002 National Day Parade stadium event; and Singapore's Marina Bay annual New Year's Eve Countdown display. Rayment also works frequently at Opera Australia and has lit 30 productions for Sydney Dance Company.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience is brought to North America by The Creature Production Company.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Live Experience will perform 12 performances at Madison Square Garden in New York City. American Express Cardmembers can get advance tickets beginning Wednesday, May 7th at 9am through Sunday, May 17th at 9pm. Tickets for the general public go on sale on Sunday, May 18th at 9am by calling 212-307-4111, on-line at www.thegarden.com or in person at the Madison Square Garden Box Office. For groups, please call 212-465-6080.
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