October 18, 2013 1:00PM
Doug Bennett, Pittsburg State University assistant professor of communication, and many student workers labored for weeks to create a fantastical, pre-historic world. Their work was the setting for PSU Theatre’s production, “The Dinosaur Musical,” Oct. 24-26, in Pittsburg’s Memorial Auditorium.
On a sunny afternoon at the set design shop on campus, Bennett measured and re-measured sections of the 40-foot volcano that was a prominent feature of the set. Getting it from the shop to the auditorium was no small feat.
“It’s 40 feet wide, 6 feet deep and 22 feet high,” Bennett said. “And that’s just the volcano!”
Director Gil Cooper said the fantastical set and whimsical dinosaur costumes by designer Lisa Quinteros were a perfect fit for a production that is “funny and smart. It’s a musical comedy for dinosaurs of all ages.”
Finding good family theater can be a challenge, according to Cooper.
“You want a show that appeals to younger children, speaks to tweens and teens, and connects to adults,” Cooper said. “After reading “The Dinosaur Musical,” I knew this was one of those rare scripts that does all three things.”
The play first debuted in 2005 in Philadelphia. The music is by Robert Reale and the book and lyrics are by his brother, Willie Reale. Robert, the composer, has a significant portfolio of stage, film and television compositions. Willie, the lyricist, also has a broad repertoire. Together they have multiple nominations for Tony, Academy and Emmy Awards.
The story of “The Dinosaur Musical” begins when a meteor collides with Earth and it quickly becomes apparent that unless the T-Rex King, Marcus, takes drastic measures, all the dinosaurs will become extinct. The dinosaurs sign a peace pact called the Treaty of Meat. For 12 years there is peace between the carnivores and the herbivores, but when the wise King of the Tyrannosauruses suddenly dies and his naïve 13-year-old son, Quincy, rises to power, trouble begins.
In addition to a cast of 18, the production included music directors A.J. Beu and Megan Gabehart; choreographer Olivia Towner; costume designer Lisa Quinteros; and scenic designer/technical director Doug Bennett.