‘How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular’ by Joel Markowitz

DreamWork Animations’ How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular has landed at The Verizon Center until Sunday with its fire-breathing dragons, wall-to-floor projections, stunning costumes, and fabulous cast  The word ‘spectacular’ is an understatement – what you will see is jaw-dropping and you will see some of the most visually stunning effects ever created for the stage.

A Nadder. Photo by Todd Kaplan.

If you are a fan of the film you must run and buy tickets. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget. There are 23 dragons (representing 12 species) some with wingspans of up to 46 feet (each large dragon weighs over 2.6 tons), Viking warriors, circus artists and acrobats, and an amazing wall-to-floor projection measuring more than 20,000 square feet. And those dragons looked so real and when they roar they are loud and commanding!

Based on the book by Cressida Cowell that spawned the successful film version, the story is about the ‘rebel’ Hiccup, a Viking teen who befriends a dragon and all of a sudden he views his life in a totally different perspective. As you can imagine there is a large cast lead by Riley Miner (Hiccup) who shows a lot of poise for a young actor, and he can move! Joining him are Gemma Nguyen (Astrid), Will Watkins (Gobber), Godfrey Ryckewaert (Snotlout), and three hip-hop dancers Dexter Mayfield (Fishlegs), Virackhaly Ngeth (Ruffnut) and Virackhaly Ngeth (Tuffnut).

But it’s veteran Australian actor Robert Morgan who plays Hiccup’s no-nonsense father Stoick who steals the show – and that’s hard to do when you are up against the dinosaurs and all those spectacular special effects. Morgan never overacts and he brings dignity and grace to his performance. It’s a wonderful performance by a sensational actor.

Red Death. Photo by Todd Kaplan.

Red Death. Photo by Todd Kaplan.

The cast of performers are directed by Nigel Jamieson, known for his Opera spectacles, Production Designer Peter England, Costume and Projection Designer Dan Potra, and the dragons are created by Sonny Tilders and his team at The Creature Technology Company. Their work is stupendous, imaginative, and brilliantly innovative. You have to see it to believe and even then you won’t believe what you just saw!

The gorgeous musical score includes compositions by Icelandic singer-songwriter Jónsi from Sigur Ros British film composer John Powell, who created the original score for the feature film.

I could go on and on but I strongly urge you to grab the kids and run and buy tickets because The How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular ends its much too short run this Sunday, July 22nd at 4 PM at The Verizon Center.

Purchase tickets here.



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