Behind-the-scenes look at 'Walking with Dinosaurs' show

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The critics have called it awesome and breathtaking, and on Thursday, we got a special VIP look at how this incredible show comes to life.

"Walking with Dinosaurs” is an Australian arena show based on the award-winning BBC television series. It's now back in the Valley for a second time.

3TV went behind-the-scenes with the puppet masters for an inside look at this incredible journey back in time—a time when dinosaurs ruled the world.

"No matter where you are in the arena you're getting this quite exhilarating feeling of gigantic things,” says Puppeteer Ben Frost, who has been working with the show for six years. “You just can't believe you can fit those things back there.

Many of the “things” to which Frost is referring are actually massive reptile puppets that are larger than a city bus. Behind this $20 million, animatronic and life-sized show, you'll find the most amazing puppets you've ever seen. In fact, one of the ten species is 36 feet tall and 56 feet from nose to tail.

Walking with Dinosaurs opened Wednesday night, November 19, 2014 at the US Airways Center on 1st Street and Jefferson. It runs through Sunday, November, 23, 2014.

With near-cinematic realism, the show depicts the evolution of the dinosaurs. The history of the world is played out on stage through three time periods, while behind the scenes, a team of animatronic experts test out the equipment daily.

Frost says the technology to move these creatures had to be custom-built, specifically for this show. “We use a remote control device called Voodoo that gives me access to the head and neck. I can even make the body go up and down, twist its hips, and move its tail.”

While Frost and other puppeteers control the movements of these wild beasts, there are engineers and animatronic experts inside the animals controlling how they walk, interact with each other, and move around the arena.

“We even have another puppeteer who works closely alongside us who just operates the mouth, the eyes, blinking, [the head turning] left and right, and a keyboard that activates all the sound.”

The sound for the show also includes music, narration through a paleontologist-guide, and the deafening roars from the terrors of the terrain. But Frost promises, the show is not designed to be scary, and is meant for an audience of all ages.

Worldwide, more than eight million people have “stepped back in time” with this performance in 243 cities and over 2,000 shows. This year, Frost says the attraction has been updated with new additions, new dinosaurs and a few surprises you’ll have to experience for yourself.
 

US Airways Center
201 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Dates: November 19-23, 2014

Performance Schedule:
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 7:00pm
Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 7:00pm
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 11:00am
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 7:00pm
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 11:00am
Saturday, November 22, 2014 -  3:00pm
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 7:00pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 1:00pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 5:00pm

Tickets:
Prices: Starting at $32.00

Website: Ticketmaster.com

Telephone: 1-800-745-3000

In Person: US Airways Center Ticket Office

Group Sales: 602-379-7878