HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON Arena Show US Tour Trailer & Behind-the-Scenes Details
Published: May 30, 2012 - 9:09am
DreamWorks Animation is turning its feature film, How To Train Your Dragon, into an arena show in partnership with Australian live entertainment group Global Creatures. The show builds on the success of live arena show Walking With Dinosaurs, which Global produced with the BBC in recent years.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR, inspired by the phenomenally successful, Academy Award® nominated DreamWorks Animation film, fully immerses audiences into the show in ways that have not been attempted before.
Barely contained within the arena, the production utilizes the full venue, maximizing every dimension of performance space to transport audiences into a mythical world of fire-breathing dragons who soar overhead at great speeds. The state-of-the-art animatronic technology and large-scale cinematic projections interact seamlessly with the live actors to bring the story to life. The show features 23 dragons, some with wingspans of up to 46 feet, Viking warriors and world-class circus artists and acrobats, to perform against a state-of-the-art, wall-to-floor immersive projection measuring more than 20,000 square feet.
The Arena: The World of Berk Comes Alive!
· The backwall is 9 movie screen combined.
· Double that and you have the size of the arena floor! It’s the size of a football field.
· All together the whole screen surface area is 20,727 square feet with over 20,736,000 pixels in it.
· The floor of the show is held together by over 28,000 magnets.
· If the cables used in the show were laid out end to end, they would stretch from LA to NY.
· There are more automation cues in the opening sequence of the show than a standard Broadway musical has in a night. And you thought your life was busy!
The Flight Track System: Dragons Take to the Skies!
· One of the most ambitious theatrical technologies ever to tour arenas.
· A system this complicated has never been attempted for a touring show before.
· It is a mixture of technology from car manufacturing plants, rail roads and rollercoasters
· Acts like a small metro system flying the dragons from backstage, around the arena and back again.
· Each section of the track is individually powered and we only ever have the section of track a creature is on and the section it is next to move on powered. This is for safety and also cuts down on the amount of power required for the track.
· Each flight carriage weighs as much as an elephant.
· Fully assembled and loaded with the dragons, it weighs 28 tons or nearly 62,000 pounds!
· The heaviest carriage (Toothless’) weighs about 7,500 pounds which is about the weight for a current model Range Rover.
· Over the course of the show, Toothless travels approximately 1.2 miles on the flight track.
· The dragons travel up to speeds of 15-20 mph.
· It packs into 5 trucks and assembles in about 5 hours and is operable in 8.
· It requires 4 operators to run it for a show.
· The creatures scan a barcode strip as they run around the track which tells them (and us) where they are at all times.
· Each carriage has a series of winches and liner actuators capable of top speeds of up to 10 feet per second.
· We use a network of compressed air to drive the switch points.
· A meticulous rigging (hanging) plan is developed by our head rigger for each venue the show plays in to ensure that the 145,000 pounds of equipment installed into the roof doesn’t overload the building.
o Weight of possible snow on the roof and sometimes the likelihood of strong wind has to be factored into these calculations.
It takes a small city to bring the show to life!
· The touring company is made up of 85 touring cast and crew.
· There are thirty 52 foot semi-trailers for the US Tour.
· If traveling as a convey, the trucks would stretch over ½ a mile (roughly 0.47 miles parked nose to tail)
· It takes a team of up to 161 people up to 36 hours to set up the show!
· All the magic is loaded out in just 10 hours.
· It takes a crew of around 160 people 1690 man hours to load the show out.
o That’s the equivalent of one person working 24 hours a day for 70 days.
o The same load in would take that same individual over a year.
· No matter how big something is when assembled, everything on the show must break down to fit through a 7’8’’x8’5’’ (shipping container) doorway.
This summer, audiences across North America will experience the magic of fire-breathing dragons that soar through arena skies in DREAMWORKS’ HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR. DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA), Global Creatures and S2BN Entertainment today announced HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR will embark on a worldwide tour following its critically-acclaimed debut in Australia and New Zealand. The tour will be produced by RZO Dragon Productions to deliver 23 dragons, some with wingspans of up to 46 feet, Viking warriors and world-class circus artists and acrobats, to perform against a state-of-the-art, wall-to-floor immersive projection measuring more than 20,000 square feet.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR was created by DreamWorks Animation, producers of the Academy Award®-nominated film, How to Train Your Dragon, which grossed approximately $500 million at the worldwide box office and opened as the #1 film in over 30 countries and Global Creatures, the masterminds behind the international phenomenon Walking with Dinosaurs, the #1 grossing world tour of 2010. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR’s worldwide tour is exclusively promoted by S2BN Entertainment and delivers some of the most ambitious theatrical technology to ever tour the arena.
The North American tour launches with a one-week engagement in Wilkes-Barre, PA, on June 27th. The tour schedule can be found at www.dreamworksdragonslive.com with tickets on sale to the general public beginning on Friday, May 11. Ticket prices start at $24.50. A limited number of special premium Dragon Hot seats and special VIP ticket experiences and family packages are also available. Catch a sneak peek of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR on the TODAY Show airing May 11 and www.today.com.
The live production rolls fire-breathing action, epic adventure and heartfelt laughter into an original captivating story set in the mythical world of Vikings and wild dragons. Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, it centers on Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup’s world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges him and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view. The story presents a vision so grand in scale that only DreamWorks Animation and Global Creatures could bring How to Train Your Dragon to life in front of a live audience.
“In our film, audiences around the world were transported to the mythical world of Vikings and dragons… and now, we are excited to immerse them in a one-of-a-kind live event in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “The innovative team at Global Creatures and the creative storytellers at DreamWorks Animation have done an inspired job in every imaginable way to present this story on an unprecedented scale that will take global audiences to unforgettable new heights. We are happy to be working with Michael Cohl and his team at S2BN Entertainment to promote and take this show around the world.”
Global Creatures Chief Executive Officer Carmen Pavlovic added, “With DreamWorks we have forged a relationship with one of the world’s leading entertainment companies. The collaboration fuses our own world-class technology with the vision and dedication of a company renowned for its cutting-edge creativity and storytelling skill. We are excited to expand the boundaries of public expectation by creating a show that combines dynamic creatures, world class performers and incredible staging to not only thrill and intrigue, but to engage audiences on an emotional level as well.”
Michael Cohl is the founder and chairman of S2BN Entertainment, global promoter for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR, and serves as lead producer of the Broadway’s smash hit Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Cohl commented, “HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR is the next logical step for me after Spider-Man: to be back in arenas where I’ve always been, and where the most exciting things happen. We are thrilled to be setting a new gold standard for live family entertainment while utilizing the full scope and scale of the arena floor and fly space. The show delivers cutting-edge production values which tell an incredible story and create an unforgettable and magical experience. This show will mesmerize children and parents alike.”
“A visual and technical work of mind-boggling proportions.” – Australian Stage
Sponsored by HP, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR is brought to life through state-of-the-art technology unlike anything ever seen before in a live event experience. Through DreamWorks Animation’s ongoing strategic relationship with HP, HP technology is part of the digital backbone for the production, providing family audiences across the globe with the most captivating live entertainment possible.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR breaks every rule of theatrical entertainment to fully immerse audiences into the show in ways that have not been attempted before. Barely contained within the arena, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR utilizes the full venue, maximizing every dimension of the performance space to transport audiences into a mythical world of fire-breathing dragons who soar overhead at great speeds. The state-of-the-art animatronic technology and large-scale cinematic projections interact seamlessly with the live actors, who bring DreamWorks Animation’s heart-warming story to life through theatrical storytelling, martial arts and acrobatics.
“Nothing less than sensational.” – Aussietheater.com
Young Hollywood actor Riley Miner, an accomplished dancer and musical theater performer, will play the lead role of Hiccup. Joining Miner to share the role of Hiccup is Rarmian Newton, who won a Helpmann Award for his performance in the Australian production of Billy Elliot The Musical (2008). American stunt performer Gemma Nguyen, a third degree Black Belt and six-time world champion in Tae Kwon Do, plays Astrid. Sharing the role of Astrid is 19-year-old Queenslander Sarah McCreanor who has starred in her own comedic productions and performed in a range of musicals and comedy shows. Stalwart Australian actor Robert Morgan plays Stoick, Hiccup’s father and the rough and ready old-school chieftain of the brawny Viking tribe. American Will Watkins, an accomplished fencer, will star as Gobber; French Kung Fu champion and stuntman Godefroy Ryckewaert plays Snotlout and Texan hip-hop dancer and rapper Dexter Mayfield will play Fishlegs. Australian hip-hop and break-dancer Virackhaly Ngeth has been cast as Ruffnut and Sydney break-dancer Frace Luke Mercado, a founding member of SKB (Street Kulture Breakers), as Tuffnut.
The cast of performers is assisted by an international technical team who has collectively created many of the world’s most memorable spectacles. The team is led by award-winning director Nigel Jamieson, who won the 2011 Helpmann Award as Best Director for his production of Opera Australia’s La Fanciulla del West, as well as production designer Peter England and costume / projection designer Dan Potra. The dragons themselves are created by Sonny Tilders and his team at The Creature Technology Company, whose work includes Walking With Dinosaurs – the Arena Spectacular. The cast of 23 dragons pays homage to all of the favorites from the DreamWorks Animation film, including the single largest animatronic creature ever made by The Creature Technology Company. The stunning score features compositions from Icelandic singer-songwriter Jonsi from Sigur Ros and Oscar-nominated British film composer John Powell, who created the original score for the feature film.