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Review: Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live (Broadway in Chicago)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat

Review: Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live (Broadway in Chicago)   
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live

Written and Directed by Scott Wright  
at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map)
thru March 30  |  tickets: $28-$58   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
   Read review



Caution: First 3 rows may get eaten!


Aimee Louisanne with Titanosaur in Erths Dinosaur Zoo Live, Broadway in Chicago


Broadway in Chicago presents


Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live

Review by Clint May 

For a limited time, Erth-Visual & Physical, Inc out of Sydney brings over a dozen prehistoric creatures to life for the delight of children and children at heart. In a setup akin to an instructional demonstration at SeaWorld, guide Aimee Lousianne educates and entertains while a skilled group of puppeteers interact with lucky audience members. Judging by the reaction of the children in the audience, seeing their greatest

Review: Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live (Broadway in Chicago)
paleontological dreams come true was quite a thrill. Louisianne’s natural charm and the skill of the performers—along with the technological aptitude of the Jim Henson-like stars themselves—will enthrall adults on a different level.

Beginning with the beginning of life itself, we are quickly sprinted forward in time to the first plants and animals. Giant proto-dragonflies, a pair of overly-curious Leaellynasaura, a cow-like triceratops and an escaped T-Rex are a few of the “lifeforms” brought on stage. Louisianne treats them as you would any other animal that has a life of its own but is also being used to educate. To gently introduce the children to the idea that they are going to see increasingly larger and more ferocious creatures, three kids are first invited on stage to pet some newborn dinos. For each new animal, an audience member is invited on stage, often with adorable, hilarious, or adorably hilarious results. Children being unpredictable as they are, Lousianne does a skillful job marshaling young ones whose intrigue turns to fear (as did one at the sight of the massive Titanosaurs) or shyness.

Everything is breezy and cheerful as an actual trip to the zoo, even with their choreographed “escaped” T-Rex. Both it and the triceratops are whole-body puppets for a single puppeteer who must masterfully balance their large armatures whilst also moving about the stage and adjusting to audience and participant. Disney’s animatronic Lucky still has a ways to go to match their fluidity and anthropomorphization abilities.

Despite my own professed love of the world of digital, there’s something inherently charming and homey about these analog creatures that you don’t get in an IMAX theater. Working with paleontologists to interpret the latest knowledge about dinosaurs, designer Steve Horwarth’s most disconcerting take on the evidence is the revelation that T-Rexes likely had feathers. It’s quite a break from the version we grew up with from Jurassic Park.

If you’re looking for a way to get your kid interested in science and they aren’t engaged by the new Cosmos, this might be the ticket to tickle their inquisitive minds. Don’t forget to offset that ticket price by going to a free zoo just a couple miles north to show them the results of all that’s happened since that infamous meteor made these creatures the stuff of our imaginations.


Rating: ★★★



Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live continues through March 30th at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map).  Tickets are $28-$58, and are available by phone (800-775-2000) or online through (check for half-price tickets at More information at  (Running time: 55 minutes without intermission)

Review: Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live (Broadway in Chicago)

Photos by Christian Waits




Aimee Lousianne (Host), Hallie Goodman, Anthony Orefice (Wrangler, Hero Puppeteer), Kelley Selznick (Wrangler, Puppeteer), Jackson Eather (Swing)

behind the scenes

Scott Wright (creator, director), Sharon Kerr (executive director), Anna Young (general manager), Steve Howarth (designer), Phil Downing (sound/lighting/video design, technical manager), Deanna Fitzgerald (lighting designer), Red Tail Entertainment, ArKtype, East Bank Entertainment (producers), Christian Waits (photos)

Review: Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live (Broadway in Chicago)
Review: Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live (Broadway in Chicago)


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