As a young boy, Dallas Taylor loved playing with dinosaurs. Now, in his mid-20s, he's making a living doing just that.
"This really is like a childhood dream come true," said Taylor, a Florida-based actor who plays one of the "dinoteers" in the "Jurassic World Live Tour" coming to Albany's Times Union Center for seven shows Thursday through Sunday. "Ever since I saw the movie I became obsessed with dinosaurs, so I'm having a lot of fun doing this. And I'm always looking for the next really interesting artistic endeavor coming along, and that's what this show is all about."
"Jurassic World" is based on the 1993 Hollywood film "Jurassic Park" and uses more than 24 realistic, full-sized dinosaurs to bring the movie to life. There are fan favorites Velociraptor Blue and Tyrannosaurus Rex, both more than 40 feet long, and two dozen more figures that are controlled by both animatronics and the performers inside them.
"I am a dinoteer, which is a combination of a dinosaur and puppeteer," explained Taylor. "We bring the dinosaurs to life. We're all in full-body costumes and mine weighs about 125 pounds. Along with the athletic requirements the role requires, we're doing a bunch of the mechanics on the inside. We make it all look as realistic as we can. We have buttons to open the eyes, to blink, to move the arms. We do a lot to make them look alive."
But the show is much more than just a demonstration of some great technology.
"We have all the fan favorites when it comes to the dinosaurs, but we also have a wonderful love story," said Taylor. "Adults around my age will recognize the animals, so it really is family entertainment that everyone can enjoy. It's great to see that the parents can share that kind of excitement with their kids."
"Jurassic World Live Tour" is enjoying its initial run and Taylor has been with the project since rehearsals began in July. The current run is scheduled through April.
"Most of the rehearsal process was about conditioning," said Taylor. "The costumes are heavy and we had to make sure we could do everything that was required of us to really make the puppets come alive. We had to make sure we could endure the show."
This isn't Taylor's first time performing in an extravagant costume.
"I've had plenty of experience with full-body puppets because I worked with 'Sesame Street Live,' and I've also worked at Busch Gardens [in Tampa]," said Taylor. "I do miss the regular song-and-dance things, but I love life as a performer. And I'm always looking for something new, different and unexpected."
Taylor was born in Utah, grew up in Alabama and now calls Clearwater, Florida, his home base. He has a degree in musical theater from Birmingham Southern College and one of his goals is to eventually open his own dance studio.
"Jurassic World Live Tour" is set on Isla Nublar, a fictional Central American Island in the Jurassic Park franchise, first depicted in Michael Crichton's 1990 novel. The tour is being produced by Feld Entertainment.
"Working with a world-class production team and Universal filmmakers, we have extended the Jurassic World canon with a new story that can only be told through this live, arena spectacular as we bring full-sized dinosaurs to generations of fans around the globe," said Juliette Feld Grossman, chief operating officer for Feld Entertainment. "We push the boundaries of technology and innovation to ensure audiences have an authentic, awe-inspiring experience."
'Jurassic World Live Tour'
WHERE: Times Union Center, Albany
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday; noon and 4 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $114-$19
MORE INFO: www.timesunioncenter-albany.com or www.Ticketmaster.com