DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — “A show 65 billion years in the making.”
Dinosaurs will be invading Brooklyn during the Jurassic World Live Tour at Barclays Center.
Jurassic World Live Tour is an all-new arena show that combines live action, stunt work and puppetry with a storyline that is directly linked to the Jurassic World movies.
“If you want to just go see dinosaurs, you can go to museums,” said Nicholas Moran who plays Dr. Eric Bordoff, the villain of the show. “What we give you is dinosaurs with a storyline that comes right out of the movies that you are already familiar with.”
There is a big difference.
“Our story is on the other side of the island,” Moran said, though he stressed that some of the dinosaurs in the show have appeared in the films. For instance, “Blue the velociraptor, that everybody is familiar with, is a main character in our show.”
As for the human actors, Moran explained, they are related to but different from “characters people are already familiar with in the movies. For example, our lead character Kate would be a colleague of Owen Grady, one of the lead characters in the movies.”
The shows by no means just replicate the films, he added.
“We have a 42-foot-long animatronic T-Rex that will literally get up in your face, and it’s a fundamentally different experience than you would see on a screen,” Moran said. “I think, in its own way, our show stands up to everything the movies offer and then some. The two complement each other.”
For those nostalgic for the older films in the series, Moran has good news.
“Because we work directly with NBC Universal, Steven Spielberg and all of his people to create this show, we had access to things like CGI modelling from the movies, and we were able to match our dinosaurs to what you see in the movies as well as the plot elements that intertwine with the movies,” he said.
The show uses the classic score from iconic composer John Williams, Moran added.
“From the moment you walk into the arena, you’re going to hear those iconic John Williams songs coming out of the speakers, and that’s wonderful,” he said. “The music itself makes you feel like you’re transported, and the dinosaurs are right in front of you.”
Technology for live shows has come a long way, and it shows during this production. The large dinosaurs are animatronic, mostly robotic and remote-control puppets.
“They are complex mechanically,” Moran said. “It takes as many as three people to operate a single dinosaur so they are fully articulated. Their faces move, their jaws move, they move around the stage.”
The show will also debut new dinosaurs not in the movies called Pteranodons, with Jeanie the dinosaur being featured.
“They are controlled by a human puppeteer inside the puppets,” he said. “We call them our dinoteers. They lift as much as 140 pounds of weight on their shoulders to carry around the puppet, as well as articulating the puppet, making it feel lifelike and giving it an emotional life, and that’s a real challenge. The job they do, bringing these dinosaurs to life is nothing short of incredible.”
The story in the show is meant for all ages.
“Ultimately, it’s a story about a mother and her child and her willingness to go to any lengths necessary to ensure that the safety of the child,” Moran said. “The main character Kate Walker is a scientist that studies dinosaurs and her prodigy student is a Pteranodon.”
Kate and Jeanie get separated as the dinosaur runs into evil people who work for the company InGen.
“Kate has to rescue Jeanie [who is trying to get back to her eggs and rescue her children] from InGen and return her to safety,” the actor said. In addition, he said, “We have a variety of subplots that tie into some characters people are familiar with, from the movies.”
Moran was thrilled to play the villain.
“Behind every good hero is a great villain,” he said. “I think people who know the Jurassic World franchise know that the villains come to certain types of death. Mine is no exception. You’ll really enjoy it.”
According to Moran, one of the best parts of the show is that it was designed for fans of all ages.
“Every once in a great while, I get to sit in the audience so my understudy can get practice,” Moran said. “I love the reaction of the audience around me. I remember one show in particular, there was a family sitting in front of me and it was clear at the beginning of the show, the parents were there just for the kids. But, about 10 minutes into the show, the parents were just as into it as the kids. That’s what I really love about our show.”
The interaction between audience and talent is also a highlight.
“There are moments when some of our dinosaurs will come right in audience members’ faces and interact with them, separated by a foot,” he said. “To watch the kids’ faces is just incredible. I love the reactions.”
Jurassic World Live Tour will be at Barclays Center from Thursday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 23. For showtimes and tickets, visit www.jurassicworldlivetour.com/tickets.