Scotiabank Place

Scotiabank Place

April 14, 2009 09:33 ET

Walking With Dinosaurs visits Scotiabank Place Aug. 26 to 30

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 14, 2009) - WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 26 TO SUNDAY, AUG. 30

SCOTIABANK PLACE - OTTAWA

Showtimes: 7 p.m. (Wednesday); 7 p.m. (Thursday); 7 p.m. (Friday); 11 a.m., 3 p.m. & 7 p.m. (Saturday); 12:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. (Sunday)

Tickets on sale Saturday, April 18 @ 10 a.m.

Dinosaurs once again roam the earth in a spectacular theatrical arena show, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular, based on the award-winning BBC television series. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular is now on tour in North America and will perform nine shows at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa from Aug. 26 through Aug. 30.

Tickets for WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular, with the exception of opening night, are $37, $52 and $72 and go on sale on April 18. Opening night tickets (Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m.) are $29.50, $39.50 and $59.50. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.CapitalTickets.ca, by phone at 613-599-FANS (3267) or 1-877-788-FANS (3267); in person at The Sens Store at Rideau Centre and Place d'Orleans; any Ottawa Sports Experts location and at the Scotiabank Place box office. For group ticket information, please call 613-599-0210 or email groupsales@scotiabankplace.com. Groups of 10 or more will receive a 10% discount (with the exception of the opening night performance).

The show originated in Australia where, after years of planning, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS came to life at Sydney's Acer Arena in January 2007. The show proved to be such a sensation that this current North American tour was fast-tracked. It began three months after completing its sold out engagements in Australia.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular is being brought to North America by The Creature Production Company, headed by CEO Carmen Pavlovic. "The BBC Series was a brilliant blend of special effects, escapism, excitement and information," he said. "Our show brings together all of that, plus something extra - it's live! In this production, 15 roaring, snarling 'live' dinosaurs mesmerize the audience and are as awe-inspiring as when they first walked on earth."

"The dinosaurs are life-sized, making the show so immense, it could only fit in arenas. It's a $20-million arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality, which captivates young and old alike. With Walking with Dinosaurs, we really believe we have created a new genre in entertainment and we hope to continue to bring new products to arenas for years to come."

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular has sold out performances and broken records in arenas all over North America, generating $100 million in ticket sales to date. It has been seen on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and 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.

The production has won the THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Touring Event (2007) and the Billboard Touring Award for Creative Content (2008), as well as the Pollstar Concert Industry Award for Most Creative Stage Production (2009). 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.

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 Cretaceous. The largest of them, the Brachiosaurus, is 36 feet tall and 56 feet from nose to tail. It required a team of 50 - including engineers, fabricators, skin makers, artists and painters, and animatronic experts - one year to build the original production.

The 15 dinosaurs were originally "hatched" by Tilders, the head of creature design, in a Melbourne Docklands workshop big enough to park a 747 jumbo jet. For the North American tour, the only building large enough to house rehearsals for the dinosaurs - some as large as 36 feet tall by 56 feet long- was the Greater Tacoma (Wash.) 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 has directed Chicago the Musical in 16 countries around the world in more than 12 languages. Most recently, he directed Bette Midler in her new Las Vegas show, The Showgirl Must Go On at Caesars Palace.

"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," said Faris. "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.

"Many of the technologies we are using on WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular are borrowed from film," said Tilders. "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 manoeuvre 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 Arena Spectacular. 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 Arena Spectacular was composed by James Brett, whose work can be heard on soundtracks including 10,000 BC, Alien vs. Predator, Miramax's Ella Enchanted and the forthcoming UK feature Outpost. He also helped create the groundbreaking collaboration between Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony. The album S&M has sold over five million copies worldwide.

The sets and projections were produced by the multi-award winning designer Peter England, whose work has toured the world extensively. A frequent collaborator at Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre, he also designed sections of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, three City of Sydney New Year's Eve Celebrations and, in 2002, was a finalist in the international design competition for the Pentagon Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lighting Designer John Rayment lit the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney 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 Arena Spectacular was originally produced in Australia by Gerry Ryan, Malcolm Cooke and Jill Bryant and is brought to North America by The Creature Production Company.

For more information about WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - The Arena Spectacular, please visit www.dinosaurlive.com.

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