Dinosaurs come to life on McKendree stage

News-DemocratMarch 5, 2014 

Giant puppets will take audiences back to prehistoric Australia when "Dinosaur Zoo Live" hits the stage at McKendree University in Lebanon on Saturday.

The original 3 p.m. show at Hettenhausen Center for the Arts sold out, so officials added a second one at 6 p.m. The theater seats 480 people.

"The puppets are so lifelike, and the performers are so good, you really forget (it's theater)," said Peter Palermo, director of The Hett. "They treat the whole thing very straight. They are zookeepers, and they're giving you a tour of the zoo."

The show is a production of the Australian company Erth Visual & Physical. Its 16 highly-detailed puppets were developed in consultation with paleontologists, based on current science and interpretations of fossil evidence.

"Using sophisticated design and electronics, skilled performers and puppeteers bring the dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals and insects seemingly to life," according to publicity.

"Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live" is part of the college's McKendree Presents series. It's considered suitable for ages 5 and up. Some audience members will be invited to interact with puppets and performers for a hands-on experience.

"I'm always looking for something different," Palermo said. "I'm always looking for family shows that aren't (only) geared toward children. We want them to be enjoyed by everyone.

"Kids are going to come out of their seats on this one. They're going to love it, but parents are, too."

At a glance

WHAT: Dinosaur Zoo Live"

WHERE: Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University in Lebanon

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday (3 p.m. show is sold out)

ADMISSION: $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and $5 for children or students with identification ($25 VIP tickets available, including a 5 p.m. pre-show meet and greet with dinosaurs and handlers, preferred seating and official hat)

INFORMATION: Call 618-537-6863 or visit TheHett.com or http://dinosaurzoolive.us/

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