During her years in the theater, Nellie Beavers has learned that bigger shows need as many as six or eight tractor-trailers to transport everything.
So when she tells colleagues how many trucks Walking with Dinosaurs requires, they’re often stunned.
`We have 25 semi-trucks that carry this show,` Beavers said.
That’s `Walking with Dinosaurs` in a nutshell: a show that’s enormous in every way. Capital District residents can catch the show that bills itself as `the arena spectacular` Wednesday to Sunday, June 17 to 21, at the Times Union Center in Albany.
The show is more than just giant dinosaurs stomping around an arena. An actor plays a paleontologist named Huxley who `takes the audience on a journey 200 million years ago,` Beavers said.
But make no mistake — the spectacle is what will leave the impression. Some fun `Walking with Dinosaurs` facts:
There are 10 large dinosaurs in the show. Each one weighs 1.6 tons, or roughly the same as a standard family car.
The adult Brachiosaurus measures 36 feet tall and 56 feet long. The young Brachiosaurus is `only` 29.5 feet tall and 48 feet long.
The Orinthocherius has a 38-foot wing span.
The touring company includes 15 cast members and 45 crew members.
It takes six to eight hours to unload all of the equipment from those 25 trucks, which means `Walking With Dinosaurs` never just rolls into a city, does a show and leaves town. Its engagements are always at least a few days long.
The tour kicked off in July 2007, and by the end of last year, it had visited 60 cities and put on more than 500 performances, selling $100 million in tickets. When `Walking with Dinosaurs` visited Philadelphia, one of the people in the crowd was Bob Belber, the general manager of the Times Union Center.
Belber and his family loved the show — `It really does leave you in awe,` he said — and he got excited about the prospect of bringing it to Albany.
When he did some research, though, he found that `Walking with Dinosaurs` tended to visit only larger cities.
But Belber had an idea. The management group he works for, SMG, also manages arenas in Rochester and in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. So he proposed guaranteeing `Walking with Dinosaurs` three shows at each venue.
Organizers liked the idea, and Belber is confident audiences will like the show, too.
`You’re almost going back in time,` he said.
The technology, though, is cutting edge. The large dinosaurs run on six roller blade wheels, and inside each is a team of three people: a driver and two puppeteers. One operates the head and tail, and the other is in charge of minor movements like opening and closing the mouth and blinking.
The smaller dinosaurs — `the baby T-Rex and the raptor, things like that,` Beavers said — are called suit dinosaurs. There’s just one person inside of those, manipulating the entire creature.
Adults are typically blown away by how realistic the dinosaurs are, Beavers said, while the younger set is fascinated by their sheer size.
`We say that our age range is from 3 to 93,` she said. `I’ve worked on a lot of shows, and the difference with this one is everybody really does have a great time. Everybody loves it.`
`Walking with Dinosaurs` will take over the Times Union Center at 7 p.m. on June 17, 18 and 19; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. on June 20; and 1 and 5 p.m. on June 21. Tickets are $21.50 to $71.50 and can be purchased by calling 800-303-8368 or visiting timesunioncenter-albany.com.“