Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dragons and Drama and Dreamworks...Oh My!

Astrid (Sarah McCreanor) Flying 
production photos by Lisa Tomasetti


High-Flying, Fire-Breathing Dragons Take Flight on Worldwide Tour
on the Heels of Smash Hit Run in Australia & New Zealand
United Center, Chicago, July 25-29, 2012
Tickets on Sale Now

ChiIL Mama is sooo stoked for opening night, next Wednesday!!   Our family can not wait to see the giant, fire breathing dragons interacting with live action martial arts, aerial arts and acrobatics.   Dragons and Vikings are two of our favorite subjects and our whole family LOVES the movie version of How to Train Your Dragon.   I think I'm even more excited about it than the kids are.

Don't miss this one.   ChiIL Mama's readers can get a special 25% discount with the code MOM!   *25% off on select weekday show seats (includes Friday nights) available for ALL shows nationwide with the promo code MOM.

As most of you know, my 9 & 11 year olds have trained in circus arts for two years with CircEsteem and are on the pre-team, so aerial acts and circus arts are of particular interest to our family.   My son is training in trapeze and silks and my daughter has taken both those classes and spanish web, lyra, and Chinese pole too!   

We see a lot of circus shows, but when you add in Vikings and mythical creatures this is sure to be an experience unlike any other.

How To Train Your Dragon, Nadder and Viking

This summer, Chicago audiences will experience the magic of Viking warriors and fire-breathing dragons that soar through arena skies in DREAMWORKS HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR. The smash hit show from Australia and New Zealand will delight audiences at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison Street, for five days only, July 25-29, 2012. To bring the beloved 3D-animated movie How to Train Your Dragon to life, DreamWorks Animation – the studio behind other modern classics including MadagascarShrek and Kung Fu Panda – enlisted Global Creatures, the masterminds behind the international phenomenon Walking with Dinosaurs. The result is a breathtaking live action experience in which 23 dragons (some with wingspans of up to 46 feet), Viking warriors and world-class circus artists and acrobats, perform against a state-of-the-art, wall-to-floor immersive projection measuring more than 20,000 square feet.

The high-tech, high-energy 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, DREAMWORKS 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 that float underwater and soar and bank 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 heartwarming story to life through theatrical storytelling, martial arts and acrobatics.

Hiccup (Rarmian Newton) and Toothless Flying

"The creativity, technology and sheer size of this show is unprecedented and we are thrilled to serve as hosts here at the United Center," said Vince Amatuzzi, Director of Marketing, United Center. "Children and adults alike will marvel at the magnitude of the experience and won't soon forget it."

DREAMWORKS HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR will appear at the United Center on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00 PM; Thursday, July 26 at 7:00 PM; Friday, July 27 at 7:00 PM; Saturday, July 28 at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM; and Sunday, July 29 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM with free parking at official United Center parking lots for all performances.

Tickets are on sale now and start at $26.50 plus applicable facility fees and service charges.  They may be purchased through Ticketmaster or by going to www.unitedcenter.comA limited number of special premium Dragon Hot Seats, VIP and family packages are available.

A remarkable sneak peek of DREAMWORKS HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR aired May 11 on the TODAY Show. 

For more information on DREAMWORKS HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR, please visit  www.dreamworksdragonslive.com.


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 more than 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 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.

“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.

DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series, live entertainment properties and online virtual worlds, meant for audiences around the world.  DreamWorks Animation is the largest animation studio in the world and has released 23 animated feature films, which have enjoyed both critical and commercial successes. These include the franchise properties of ShrekMadagascarKung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. DreamWorks Animation became the first studio to produce all of its feature films in 3D and in 2010 became the first Company to release three CG feature films in 3D in a single year.  The Company has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by FORTUNE® Magazine for four consecutive years. In 2012, DreamWorks Animation ranks #14 on the list. DreamWorks Theatricals was established by DreamWorks Animation in 2007 to develop and produce live stage and arena show productions inspired by the Company’s franchise properties. Current productions in development – including How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular and Kung Fu Panda Arena Spectacular– are one-of-a-kind, global tours and immersive entertainment experiences for the whole family. DreamWorks Theatricals productions are guided by much of the creative leadership team that develops the studio’s award-winning feature films.

Making of the dragons 4 - Gronckle

Global Creatures is an international entertainment group that develops new and exciting theatrical productions to take to audiences around the world.  The animatronics arm, The Creature Technology Company, invents and deploys the latest in animatronic design.  Their hugely successful production Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular, based on the award-winning BBC TV series, represents a new entertainment genre all on its own.  The production is a spectacle of unprecedented size and quality, which captivates young and old alike.  The Walking with Dinosaurs tour was the number-one tour worldwide in 2010.  Global Creatures has announced King Kong – Live on Stage, which will be produced in cooperation with the estate of “Kong” creator Merian C. Cooper.  Global Creatures and Bazmark (the multimedia company founded and owned by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin) has announced a partnership to produce a stage musical adaptation of the first movie of Baz Luhrmann’s groundbreaking Red Curtain Trilogy, Strictly Ballroom.

S2BN is an entertainment company specializing in the production of family oriented shows for theaters and arenas.  Currently, S2BN has three successful shows in operation: the record-breaking smash hit Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway; Rock of Ages now in its fourth year on Broadway, recently opened in London, touring throughout North America and on June 1, 2012 a major Warner Bros. Picture Release; and thirdly, Fuerza Bruta, also in its fifth year in New York and touring throughout the world.  For 30+ years S2BN’s leadership has been a dominant and innovative force in the international concert touring industry, working in exclusive partnerships with renowned, global artists such as The Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, U2 and Pink Floyd among many others.  In that time they have also created and/or promoted a wide range of unique family entertainment attractions in tennis, figure skating, motorsports, boxing and wrestling as well as theater, opera and symphony.

The RZO Companies group was formed on July 1, 1988 through the merger of Sound Advice, Inc. and Joseph Rascoff & Company, Inc. by their principals William Zysblat and Joseph Rascoff, respectively. For more than 25 years, RZO and its predecessor organizations have been actively involved in the music business as tour producers and full-service business managers. RZO has represented such illustrious music artists as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Sting, U2, The Police, Luis Miguel, Patti LaBelle, David Byrne and many others.  The Company also represents personalities such as Carson Daly and Iman, along with the Estates of John Lennon and Ira and George Gershwin.

About the United Center
The United Center is a state-of-the-art, 960,000 square-foot multi-use entertainment facility that has welcomed more than 40 million fans since opening in 1994. Home of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League and the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association, the United Center hosts more than 200 events each year, including the best musical performers, sporting events, family shows and special events in the industry. A commitment to superior service makes the United Center one of the top venues in the world.  For more information, visit United Center's main site here.

Astrid (Sarah McCreanor) and Hiccup (Rarmian Newton), photo credit Lisa Tomasetti

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