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Walking With Dinosaurs Teaches Evolutionary Lessons

IMG_0207The national touring production of Walking With Dinosaurs is currently playing at the RBC Center (thru Sunday), and doesn’t disappoint. The $20M spectacle, based on the BBC TV series, is an educational and entertaining walk through the three major periods when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Running at 1:38 (with a 20-minute intermission), the show dazzles children and adults alike.

My chief concern entering the event was how my 6-year-old daughter would handle it. Only this past May she had a miserable experience in Epcot’s Universe of Energy with its frightening robotic dinosaurs. Not so with the Walking…, however. The distance between the crowd and the animatronic dinosaurs is ample to  separate any feelings of danger. Perhaps her association with previous good experiences in that building helped, too. While the sound of roaring dinosaurs and crashing comets is startling at time, I saw no children around me aborting the night’s mission.

The show consists of three acts, each featuring a presentation of some of the dinosaurs that thrived in  major periods; Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic. Narrated by a strolling actor who is probably the next big thing in commercial voice-overs, the story gives a heaping load of facts while immersing the audience in a thrilling visual experience

IMG_0198 More impressive than the content is the production itself. Just under one-half of the RBC Center is curtained off to create a theater setting. Above the floor surface is an enormous flying rig that is full of a few hundred concert lighting units and a booming sound system that carries impressive low end sound without and shrill tones whatsoever. The floor is lined with theatrical rocks that play a big part in set design during a few periods presented.

The real stars, though, are the dinosaurs. These mostly animatronic beasts are impressive. Standing as tall as 60 feet or so, the movements of these creatures such as the Ankylosaurus, the Torosaurus, and of course, the T-Rex, are so realistic, it is easy to forget the incredible wizardry that must be behind the dozens of mechanical articulations. Details down to running noses and blinking eyes weren’t overlooked. The skins, too, are extremely impressive. About the only thing omitted, thankfully, was the smells these beasts probably produced.

Today marks the 26th birthday of Disney’s EPCOT Center. While the star of its opening was Spaceship Earth, the buzz for years after concerned the impressive dinosaurs in the Universe of Energy. Hovering over the mobile theater cars, guests were amazed at the lifelike movements of these robots. Today we have the Walking With Dinosaurs tour, and it proves that evolution doesn’t just exist with progressive life forms, it also exists in the theater.


Get The Jump On HSM3 Tix

High School Musical 3 opens Friday, and theaters will certainly be swarmed this weekend (with people who “gotta have their star on the door”) as a result. It looks like the best way to get tickets is in advance thru Fandango. Advance tickets for North Hills’ theatre, for instance, are available for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

As with any day of the year, a fantastic way to display local movie times by movie (not by theater) is through a special Google search. The “Movie Times” link always lives in the tools section on the left, for future reference.


Kennedy to Direct DRIFT

kennedy_Lauren If you are in New York on November 3rd, you can catch Raleigh native Lauren Kennedy’s latest venture; an all-star benefit concert performance of DRIFT with music and lyrics by Jeremy Schonfeld. It will take place at the BB King Blues Club & Grill on 42nd St. in  New York City. The event will star:

  • Adam Pascal (Rent)
  • Jarrod Emick (Tony Award winner: Damn Yankees),
  • Adam Kantor (Rent)
  • Julia Murney (Wicked)
  • Kris Coleman (Jersey Boys)
  • Karla Mosley (Expatriate)
  • Terrence Mann (two time Tony Award nominee: Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables)

The concert also features Scott Coulter and Michelle Kinney. Produced by the PATH Fund, Inc. (“Rockers on Broadway”), the evening benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights and Atlanta’s Broadway Dreams Foundation will take place on Monday, November 3, 2008. Tickets are $60, with standing room available at $30.

With a rock score from acclaimed composer Jeremy Schonfeld, DRIFT weaves raw and gracefully honest songs together to tell the story of one man’s divorce and reconciliation. Originally released as a concept recording by Sh-K Boom Records, a book musical version of DRIFT (with collaborator Craig Pospisil) premiered at the 2005 New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF), and was subsequently produced in an award-winning full-scale production as part of the 2006 Festival. Tickets are available through Tickemaster.

After DRIFT, Kennedy will be preparing for the Broadway premiere of Vanities, beginning in February.


Lewis Black Coming to Durham

lewis-black The ubiquitous, grumpy, UNC graduate known as Lewis Black (NSFW: language) will be performing at the new Durham Arts Center on December 3. General public tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am. There is a presale, however, that ends at midnight. Enter code DPAC into the internet presale box.


Richard Lewis Coming to Charlie Goodnights

RichardLewis One of stand-up’s legends, Richard Lewis, is coming to Charlie Goodnight’s Comedy Club. Lewis is also known for his roles on Anything But Love and Curb Your Enthusiasm, will be performing six shows beginning November 6.


TIP Presents Briarpatch

briarpatch The latest production by Ira David Wood III and the Theatre in the Park is Briarpatch. It is a “bodacious musical for the entire family”, based on the stories of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Turtle, Br’er Fox, and other critters in the forest.

The show opened yesterday, but still runs Sunday and next weekend.


Jones Leaves NCT

The N&O reported today that William Jones is leaving Raleigh’s North Carolina Theater and taking a job Casa Manana in Ft. Worth, TX. While some criticized Jones for simply being “DeAnn’s boy”, he did a great job for NCT, and will be missed.

In other NCT news Casey Hushion will be the new artistic director.


Marbles Packs A Wad of Fun

MARBLES_COLOR The Marbles Museum downtown has a busy schedule of fun activities set for the ensuing couple of month. Look below the fold for a complete list.

Marbles Kids Museum
201 East Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 26701
Museum 919.834.4040
Theatre 919.882.IMAX

read more…


Paperhand Puppets Take Over NCMA

image Tonight at 7pm, the Paperhand Puppets will perform the second (and final) production of the weekend at the NC Museum of Art. The oversize creatures, made of paper-machie and cloth, have a reputation for putting on quite a show. The production features larger-than-life nature puppets, shadow puppets, live music, and good humor. Watch out for some super-sized insects in this spectacle.

$15 ($12 Members) General admission
$7.50 Children 7–12
Children 6 and under free
Buy tickets now


Seinfeld Coming to Memorial Auditorium

Seinfeld What’s the deal with Jerry Seinfeld coming to Memorial Auditorium on November 14? That is something I’d…like…to..know. Tickets are $47-$77 and the internet presale begins September 17 at 10am. General public tix are available on 9/19 at 10am.


Disney On Ice Coming to RBC Center

The Disney On Ice: Worlds of Fantasy tour will be hitting the RBC Center on December 12. Tickets go on sale on Monday morning (8/18) through Ticketmaster.


Broadway Series South Offering Mini Season Packs

The fantastic Broadway Series South is offering a minimum 4-show mini-season deal. The full season includes:

  • Rain: The Beatles Experience
  • Annie
  • Chicago
  • The Rat Pack is Back
  • A Chorus Line
  • Stomp
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • Happy Days
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Lord of the Dance

Create your dream season by clicking here.


Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood Coming to Memorial

mochrie Whose Line Is It Anyway? fans are in for a treat. Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are coming to Memorial Auditorium on October 30. Tickets are on sale now.

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