The Creature From the Black Lagoon is a 1954 film by Jack Arnold about an archeological expedition in the Amazon that finds a mysterious skeletal hand which appeared to have been webbed. This leads the expedition to find a creature that is half man, half fish, which they call the Gill-man. They try and capture the Gill-man, but he escapes and attacks many of the team members.
Creature is one of the classic horror movies from the days of old, and remains loved to this day, and because of this, Universal Studios Hollywood has decided to bring the Gill-man back to the spotlight. The revival will be in the form of a 25-minute musical stage show called Creature From The Black Lagoon – A Raging Rockin’ Show, in which audiences will be whisked away to the Amazon jungle for a tale of horror, romance, and even comedy.
Expect extravagant stagecraft with special effects, advanced puppetry, and acrobatic choreography, combined with a contemporary, original musical score — oh, yeah, and a massive 25-foot Creature on the stage — when this attraction arrives at the California theme park on July 1, 2009.
Click over to the other side to check out all the juicy details of this new attraction — the characters, songs, props, special effects, and much more! Be warned though, there’s lots of info, so don’t read too far down if you don’t want to be “spoiled” by knowing all about the stage show beforehand.
“Creature from The Black Lagoon””A Raging Rockin’ Show” is a new musical stage adaptation of the Universal horror classic, opening exclusively at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A. With an approximate 25 minute running time, the show features an all-original score and dazzling Broadway-level production. This hip send-up to the classic thriller infuses romance and comic relief with extravagant stagecraft, acrobatic choreography and a hilarious and contemporary musical score certain to keep this highly entertaining musical moving at a sizzling pace.
THE GUEST EXPERIENCE:
Audiences will be immersed within a menacing Amazon environment, completely enveloped by the exotic sounds and feel of the jungle as they watch a twisted love story between beauty and beast, fraught with rage, romance and sweet revenge, unfold. From the production’s first moments, guests will be thrust into an unexpectedly outrageous, bizarrely romantic, melodic and often outlandishly comic adventure as this monster classic is re-imagined for the 21st Century.
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS:
“Creature From the Black Lagoon” is comprised of a versatile cast of multi-talented performers, singing, dancing and flying into six starring roles along with several crew members to round out the cast:
The Creature, aka “Gill”: is a menacing and tormented reptilian-man, residing within the Amazon River. He lives an isolated and lonely existence, that is, until he lays eyes upon love interest Kay.
Kay: Is the beautiful and intellectual scientist, engaged to be married to the emotionally detached scientist David. Her lust for life and passion for living creates a void between the two in their already strained relationship.
Mark: Is the quintessential spoiled and obnoxious rich kid leading the expedition. He has two objectives in accomplishing the dangerous mission: to capture the Creature and achieve fame and glory, and to land the lovely Kay.
David: Is the very analytical, dispassionate lead scientist. He’s also fellow scientist Kay’s fiancÃ©. And as clichÃ©s go, the two are polar opposites; he is a bit of cold fish compared to the emotionally available Kay.
Captina Miranda: Is the Rita’s Captain. She is an exotic native voodoo queen most notable for her bouts of melodramatic trances of doom and gloom.
A Cook: Who creates his own recipes for disaster.
ABOUT THE GIANT CREATURE:
A behemoth 25-ft. Creature towers on stage in the production’s finale as the larger than life monster stakes his claim on his beloved Kay.
The complex, fully articulated Creature was conceptualized from the creative mind of leading Production Designer, Michael Curry, and emerges on stage as one of the world’s largest puppets. In fact, five trained puppeteers, hidden within various body parts of the Creature, bring the Creature to life as the love story comes to a melodramatic close. Working in choreographed unison, the puppeteers inhabit each of the Creature’s arms and its gigantic head, with two puppeteers stationed at the Creature’s base to move it forwards and back.
ABOUT THE RITA:
The signature Rita boat featured in the attraction was created to mirror an authentic wooden vessel, similar to the one used in the original film. Tipping the scale at over two tons, the Rita will appear to float on water as it gets hoisted mid-air with the aid of specially constructed cables that appear to disappear from the audience’s perspective. Through slight of sight illusion achieved with precise lighting and fog effects, The Rita will seemingly float weightlessly before a captive audience.
At 18.5 feet in length x 8.5 feet in width x 16 feet in height, the Rita will have an impressive stage presence and be large enough to support the crew lead by Captina Miranda stationed at its steering wheel. In actuality, video monitors and a special effects team will be housed within the boat’s interior to carefully navigate the Rita, outfitted with wheels, to all corners of the stage.
A VERY ORIGINAL CREATURE SCORE:
The story of the “Creature From the Black Lagoon” will unfold to an original score, produced by award-winning composers and lyricists. Songs include:
“Black Lagoon” – is the opening number created to convey the overall tone of the show and introduce the audience to the Amazon environment and cast of characters. The song reprises during the performance. Music by Fred Barton. Lyrics by Fred Barton, Gerard Alessandrini, Ross Osterman.
“Slay Me” – is Kay’s solo performed during her choreographed swimming sequence with the Creature. Music by Peter Fish. Lyrics by Peter Fish and Ross Osterman.
“Prime Evil” — is an ensemble performance designed to tell the story of the Creature kidnapping Kay. Music by Peter Fish and Ross Osterman. Lyrics by Ross Osterman and Peter Fish.
“Strange New Hunger” — is a duet / love song between Kay and the Creature. The song reprises during the performance. Music by Gerard Alessandrini and Fred Barton. Lyrics by Gerard Alessandrini, Ross Osterman and Fred Barton.
Elaborate state-of-the-art special effects will literally catapult “Creature From the Black Lagoon” to new heights as the seemingly ordinary set is transformed into the Amazon River before audiences’ very eyes. Through a special effects technique referred to as “Dry For Wet,” characters Kay and the Creature will be swept up into a synchronized swim sequence, pulsing harmoniously towards and away from one another, in a scene designed to replicate the infamous swim scene from the classic film.
To achieve the mesmerizing “Dry For Wet” swimming effect, leading Aerial Designer Paul Rubin developed tandem flying tracks situated adjacent to the catwalk portion of the stage. Characters Kay and the Creature are attached to these contraptions via a harness, hidden beneath their costumes. Two aerial tracks were created to fully execute this “Dry For Wet” swim sequence: a circular track for Kay that reaches 120 feet in circumference and a more angular track for the Creature that expands to 75 feet in length from one end of the stage to the other.
Accompanied by an all-original score, the romantic interlude will play out as swimsuit donning Kay floats seamlessly mid-air across the stage. Harnessed to the circular, aerial track, Kay will be gently lifted and lowered as she swims in harmony with the Creature, harnessed to his separate track as he swims just below her.
Further enhancing this overall “Dry For Wet” sequence is the floating Rita, which at an extraordinary two tons is powerfully hoisted mid-air via cables to appear as if it’s simply floating along the Amazon River.
SURROUND SOUND IN A VERY GREEN AMAZON:
Thousands of LED efficient lights will be incorporated into the very elaborate sets and weaved into countless set pieces. LED lights will illuminate the sets and scenic elements, including an intricate star field backdrop, designed to create the illusion of a twinkling sky. Thousands of feet of adjustable rope lighting will be infused with multi-colored LED lights to create the illusion of passing time from sunup to sundown and over 200 LED lights will illumine an enormous 8-foot round moon. To further enhance the sounds of the Amazon and engulf guests within the environment, the theatre will be upgraded to incorporate 40 surround sound speakers throughout the venue.
From the moment guests enter the theatre, they will be immediately immersed within an Amazonian environment, reminiscent of the jungle featured in the original film. Detailed set pieces include thousands of feet of twisting vines that have been meticulously hand sculpted, hand carved, custom painted and individually outfitted with thousands of miniature LED lights to add depth and texture to a jungle environs.
A giant state-of-the-art mechanical roll-up movie screen sits center stage with its edges seamlessly integrated into the adjoining scenery. At 40 feet x 23 feet, the immense screen serves to illustrate story lines with music and video content as well as to serve as a backdrop with scenic projections. To maintain the production’s 25-minute momentum and its need for swift, uninterrupted scenic changes, a giant screen was specially-devised to roll up and down at a rapid pace of four feet per second, twice as fast as an ordinary screen. The use of atmospheric fog will also be used to enhance scenes, while simultaneously aid in concealing quick set changes, unbeknownst to the audience.
[Source: Universal Studios Hollywood]