‘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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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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