Means and materials take on a whole new meaning when you work on the kinds of projects we do.
Rod was working in Broadway scene shop when the call came to get on a plane to Las Vegas and help with Siegfried and Roy. The Mirage was building a custom theater for the duo — an extravaganza that involved multi-level stages, spinning rings of fire, and big-cat cages built of bomb casing materials so that they could withstand the corrosive effects of tiger urine. Yep. Tiger urine. Rod explains that,apparently, it’s highly acidic and burns through most metals.
“It took a while to spec that project, because people kept laughing!”
Working with unusual materials and sourcing outside the bounds of ‘normal’ construction is woven into the DNA of Big Show.
For Treasure Island’s Buccaneer Bay, it’s roller coaster tracks that allow a 4 ton ship to ‘sail’ and stop precisely with less than a 10cm position variance. Which is crucial because a gas-fired cannon blast has to fire precisely in order to create the illusion of a battle without actually catching the actors on fire.
The special effects show EFX required two animatronic dragons, three different kinds of fire, and a special lens, one of only two ever made. The other one is on the Hubble telescope.
As technical director for the Cirque Du Soliel show “O” at the Bellagio Casino, Rod invented a moving winch system that revolves as it lowers three mounted carousel horses at XXXX pounds per second into the water. And he consulted with Navy Seal diving instructors to set up the underwater systems that sustain performers as they wait for their cues.
So when the Times Square Toys ‘R Us asked “can you install a dinosaur?” the answer was a typical, “Sure. How big?” If it’s never been done before, highly technical and incredibly difficult, it’s our kind of job.