Dinosaurs roam the suburbs

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dinosaurs aren't extinct, at least not this weekend at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

"Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular," continuing today and Sunday, presents 17 life-size robotic dinosaurs that will walk, run, hunt for food, protect their young and fight for territory.

"At the show, the whole family benefits. It's not just a kids' show. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, they all have a great time," said Nellie Beavers, associate tour manager.

The $20 million production represents 10 species of dinosaurs from the entire 200 million-year reign of the dinosaurs. The show includes theTyrannosaurus rex, Torosaurus, Utahraptor, Plateosaurus, Liliensternus, Stegosaurus and Allosaurus. The largest dinosaur in the show is the huge Brachiosaurus, which is 36 feet tall and 56 feet in length from nose to tail.

The dinosaurs don't just run around the stage without purpose. The show depicts the dinosaurs' evolution, complete with the climactic and tectonic changes that led to the demise of many species. With almost cinematic realism, the show features scenes of the interactions among dinosaurs, and the audience can learn how carnivorous dinosaurs evolved to walk on two legs and how the herbivores fended off their more agile predators.

"These life-size dinosaurs are animatronic puppets," Beavers said. They're not pre-programmed. So each show is a little different. All of the dinosaurs have more than 30 points of articulation movement, which is a lot different than those dinosaurs you see in theme parks that have only five or six points."

The production came to life in Australia in 2007, when it was constructed by a team of 50 -- including engineers, fabricators, skin makers, artists, painters and animatronic experts. The show was presented once before in Chicago: in 2008 at the United Center.

Meanwhile, the history of the world is played out during the production with the splitting of the Earth's continents and the transition from the arid desert of the Triassic period to the lush green prairies of the later Jurassic. Oceans form, volcanoes erupt, a forest catches fire -- all leading to the theory that a massive comet hit Earth and made dinosaurs extinction.

So what's the bottom line on the show?

"It's a masterful combination of artistry and technology with magnitude," Beavers said.

Show times are 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. today and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $19.50-$69.50. For tickets or more information, call (800) 745-3000 or visit www.ticket master.com or www.dinosaur live.com. The Allstate Arena is at 6920 N. Mannheim.

Source from http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/family/2551566,CST-FTR-family31.article


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