Dinosaurs once again roam the earth when the spectacular production, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR, based on the award-winning BBC Television Series, returns to North America.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR will be performed at Honda Center from a limited eight-performance engagement from Wednesday, September 3 to Sunday, September 7 and STAPLES Center for a limited eight-performance engagement from Thursday, September 11 to Sunday, September 15.
Tickets go on sale Friday, April 11 at 12:00 p.m. For Honda Center, please visit ticketmaster.com, or call 800-745-3000. Tickets will be available to purchase at the Honda Center box office beginning Saturday, April 12 at 10:00 a.m. For STAPLES Center please visit axs.com or call 888-929-7849.
The critics have called this show ‘awesome’, ‘spectacular’ and ‘breathtaking. This updated production will showcase changes to the dinosaurs based on the latest scientific research including the likely feathering of some species. Worldwide, more than eight million people have seen this show in 243 cities and over 2,000 performances.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR is produced by Global Creatures headed by CEO Carmen Pavlovic. Pavlovic said, “I am thrilled that WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR is coming back to the US in July – its first visit to North America since its inaugural 2007 sell-out tour. A new generation is ready to experience these life–size beasts in this awe-inspiring spectacle, which has still not been matched in terms of scale and quality. Many of our creatures have “evolved” since the last tour, now featuring distinctive display feathers, head crests and tail fans, reflecting recent discoveries about the physical nature of these massive creatures. This show remains a must-see for audiences of all ages.”
The show depicts the dinosaurs’ evolution with almost cinematic realism. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR has scenes of the interactions between dinosaurs, how carnivorous dinosaurs evolved to walk on two legs, and how the herbivores fended off their more agile predators.
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 period. 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 production.
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.
The show originated in Australia, where after years of planning, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR came to life at Sydney’s Acer Arena in January 2007. The 20 dinosaurs were originally “hatched” by Sonny Tilders, the head of creature design at Creature Technology Company in a Melbourne Docklands workshop big enough to park a 747.
The show proved itself such a sensation, that the North American tour was fast-tracked, where it quickly became one of the leading arena attractions. 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! Soon after, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR went onto conquer Europe and Asia.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THE ARENA SPECTACULAR 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 was the subject of a Discovery Channel Really Big Things episode and a video clue category on Jeopardy.
During its North American tour (2007-2010), the production won the THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Touring Event and the Billboard Touring Award for Creative Content as well as the Pollstar Concert Industry Award for Most Creative Stage Production and the ILMC Arthur Award for Best in Show. The THEAs recognize excellence in the creation of compelling educational, historical, and entertainment projects; and both the Billboard Touring Award and the Pollstar Concert Industry Award recognize a show or tour that creatively expands what is offered on the road. The ILMC (International Live Music Conference) Arthur Award for Best in Show recognizes theatre shows and family entertainment.
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 ARENA SPECTACULAR. The show is directed by Scott Faris, a Broadway veteran who directed Michael Crawford in EFX at MGM Grand Hotel, 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 Chicago the Musical in 16 countries and William Shatner’s Broadway show Shatner’s World, as well was resident director on the Broadway productions of Les Misérables, Cabaret, Cats, and Grease and a directing consultant for Cirque du Soleil. He directed Bette Midler in The Showgirl Must Go On at Caesars Palace Las Vegas and George Lucas Super Live Adventure in Japan.
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!”
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, the score was composed by James Brett; and Warner Brown wrote the script.
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 designed the Global Creatures/Dreamworks production How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular, and created the lead character in the Australian stage production of King Kong, which had its world premiere season in Melbourne, Australia in 2013. 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 ARENA SPECTACULAR 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.
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 ARENA SPECTACULAR. The series won six Emmy and three BAFTA Awards.
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.” 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.”
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – THE ARENA SPECTACULAR was originally produced in Australia by Gerry Ryan, Malcolm Cooke and Jill Bryant and is brought to the world by Global Creatures.