Dinosaurs so convincing that you’ll swear they’re real are taking over the Barclays Center for Jurassic World Live.
The new show by Feld Entertainment (Disney On Ice, Marvel Universe LIVE!) isn’t stomping into the city in the spring of 2020, but on Wednesday, amNewYork got a sneak preview of what to expect when Jurassic Park meets Brooklyn.
Set in between the recent movies "Jurassic World" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the arena show is about two scientists, Dr. Kate Walker and Dr. Martin Reilly, and their two young interns, who are investigating a new technology that translates the emotions of their dinosaur test subjects, including one special Troodon named Jeanie. When Isla Nublar falls, the team is separated from Jeanie and returns to find her after receiving a signal from the new technology that she’s still alive.
The show’s 24 life-size dinosaurs are made possible with a mix of technologies that almost bring them to life. The Pteranodon actually fly using drones and the land walkers are filled and operated by actors who are training constantly to build up the strength it takes to … well, be a dinosaur.
Each "dinoteer" controls the giants’ head and jaw movements from inside the weighty costume while they literally embody the movements and strides of their dinos.
The Raptors, for example, weigh more than 120 pounds. This reporter put on a vest weighing half that and nearly fell over.
"The performers work in a plié [squat] and have to learn to step in ways that their knees are in line with the raptor’s feet," said show stunt coordinator David Doersch, who illustrated the movements. "Their acting has to be in the whole body. This is state-of-the-art; they’re lovely creatures that are complex and lifelike."
In a demonstration at studio space in Chelsea, the actors came out in full "uniform" — all that was visible were their legs in black underneath Jeanie the Troodon and Blue the Velociraptor (the one from the films).
"I just got to hang out with Blue," said Bronx resident Desiree Sanchez, who gained access to the preview with her family. "I am a fan of the original movies and my son forced me to see ‘Jurassic World,’ which is leading us into the next generation of dinosaur fans. I think this is absolutely amazing — this is over the top and I can’t wait to see the show."
The dinosaurs will mainly be in the arena itself, but those sitting in the front row may be sniffed by curious creatures from time to time, according to co-directors Dan Shipton and Ross Nicholson.
"This is a big challenge," Nicholson said. "We have to meet the wants and expectations people have from the movies and translate them to the arena."
Working with a team of writers and getting input from director Steven Spielberg himself, they’re aiming to create a story and production that would have the same awe, wonder, humor and believable science that work so well in the films, they said.
"Spielberg said he wanted to make a full-scale T. rex for the films but then it became all about CGI, so he is stoked that we’re doing it," Shipton said. "I cannot tell you how realistic it is."
The Jurassic World Live Tour comes to the Barclays Center Feb. 20-23, 2020, the Prudential Center in Newark from Feb. 27-March 1, 2020, and to Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale from March 12-22, 2020.