'How to Train Your Dragon' comes alive in Wilkes-Barre
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Robert Morgan, an Australian actor who plays the lead Viking, Stoic, in the production of "How to Tame Your Dragon" at the Mohegan Sun Arena, stands next to one of the smaller dragons in the production. Some of the dragons have wing spans up to 46 feet.
Twenty-three dragons, some with wing spans up to 46 feet, come to life in a unique production that kicks off Wednesday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre.
"How to Train Your Dragon," which was a successful film, has been converted into a spectacular performance that not only presents the fire-breathing creatures in realistic proportions, but retains the story that was set in the movie.
The Mogehan Sun performances, eight events through July 1, is the first of 27 cities in America where it will be presented.
The only other regional arena is the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Sept. 12-16.
Each large dragon in the production weighs 1.6 tons and contains 200 liters of paint. The show travels in 30 18-wheelers.
The back wall is nine movie screens combined.
Robert Morgan, an Australian actor who plays Stoic, the lead Viking, said "How to Train Your Dragon" is a great story. "A conflict is shown between the father and son." He noted the sworn enemy of the tribe is the dragon, but the son, Hiccup, doesn't see things this way.
"It's a very intense story," Morgan said. "The son grows up having a love interest and bridging the gap between them (dragons) and us."
He continued that every dragon is a character in itself.
Being the father of a five-year-old son, Morgan said he appreciates the opportunity to work in this production and although it might be too intense for children younger than five, it's great for the rest of the family.
The arena event was developed in Australia over a four-year period.
"What you see are these huge mechanical characters integrated into the spectacular as a play," he said. "You see the story progress. There are a lot of beautiful scenes, but there is also tragedy. It's a play surrounded by magnificent, technical beasts."
The conflict involves the son's love for the dragons, and the father's love for his son.
The movement of the dragons is assisted by a panel of professional puppeteers who synchronize the movement of every portion of the behemoths. For example, one dragon, Toothless, has four puppeteers working on him simultaneously.
Morgan revealed, "There's a great finale; a huge battle at the end."
Both the Mohegan Sun show and the film are based on the book by Cressida Cowell.
It centers on Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn't fit in with his tribe's longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup's world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges him and his fellow Vikings to see the world from a different point of view.
Tickets for "How to Train Your Dragon" are available through Ticketmaster.