Imagine being asked to bring dinosaurs back to life after 65 million years to appear in a live arena spectacular! Well William May did just that with the ground-breaking show Walking with Dinosaurs, the Arena Spectacular. William was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is dyslexic. His motto is “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”. William is a world renowned Artistic Director and his driving passion is to give children and families the experience of “wonderment”, igniting their imagination to dream. He discovered and managed Australian artist Samantha Sang and with the Bee Gees Barry Gibb, produced her number one hit record Emotion. For 30 years he and his partner Malcolm Cooke have produced original, acclaimed stage shows including The Hobbit and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. His Broadway debut musical was Marilyn - An American Fable, the life story of Marilyn Monroe. He co-composed and co-wrote the West End Musical Always – the love story of King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson.
William offers gratitude to creative consultant, Kim Poster of Stanhope Productions who helped assemble the international creative team. William is represented by Irving Azoff and Harry Sandler of Front Line Management Group, one of the largest management and touring companies. Irving says “Bill’s imagination will take audiences to places they could never have dreamed of.”
Scott Faris originally from California, attended USIU in San Diego and started his career performing in commercials, industrials & musicals, among them A Chorus Line. He stole most of his directing skills while working as a production stage manager and supervisor for some of the best directors on Broadway on productions like City of Angels, Les Miserables, Cabaret, Cats, Grease, Busker Alley, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Children of a Lesser God, and Whistle Down The Wind. He has directed over a dozen productions of the hit musical Chicago on five continents. In Las Vegas, he directed “EFX!” at the MGM Grand Hotel, and Bette Midler - The Show Must Go On at Caesars Palace; and was part of the production team that created Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Hotel. He conceived and directed George Lucas Live Adventure, a multi-media arena spectacular that played Japan’s largest arenas. A personal highlight was helping Bette Midler return to the stage in her tour, “Experience the Divine”. Scott lives in New York City with his daughter, Emily, who attends the High School of the Performing Arts, the school made famous by the movie “Fame.”
In America, Warner Brown’s musical Flickers was first seen at Broadway’s Circle-in-the Square Theater. He wrote the screenplay Nijinsky for Regent Entertainment in L.A. and the ‘new Cole Porter musical’ The Black and White Ball. In Europe, Warner’s credits include Musical of the Year, starring Denis Quilley, Al Jarreau and Sir Peter Ustinov, and book and lyrics for Garbo – the Musical, with music by rock legend Jim Steinman and Michael Reed. In the U.K., Warner’s work includes the plays Laughing Dove, Scandal and The Prospero Suite, directed by John Doyle; the all-star production of Cinderella at the London Palladium and the musicals Six For Gold, The House on the Corner and The Biograph Girl, with composer David Heneker. Heneker and Brown were the subjects of the BBC documentary The Making of a Musical. For Gillian Lynne, at the request of Diana, Princess of Wales, Warner wrote Dance For Life at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. His new version of the classic show Half A Sixpence is currently on a national tour. Among his numerous credits for the BBC, Warner was Script Associate of the Classic Musicals series, directing such artists as Tyne Daly, Barbara Cook, Anthony Newley and Julia Migenes.
James Brett studied at The Royal Academy of Music in London. Alongside the composer Michael Kamen, James worked on films such as The Event Horizon, The Iron Giant, Frequency, X-Men The Movie, and Band Of Brothers. In 1999, as assistant Musical Director, James helped mastermind the groundbreaking collaboration between Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony. In 2002, James served as assistant Musical Director for the BBC Party at the Palace, part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
James is currently sought after as a composer and arranger by some of the more prestigious film companies both in the US and Europe. Recently James has composed music on projects such as Outpost, 10,000bc, Alien VS. Predator, Ella Enchanted, The Life & Death Of Peter Sellers and two seasons of the cult TV show HEX for Sky. James scored the music for Walking with Dinosaurs, the Arena Spectacular in Sydney. His involvement in an arena show of this nature was one of the highlights of his career.
Sonny Tilders has spent the last 20 years making critters and weird contraptions for both the film and theatrical industries. His formal training is in graphic design having graduated from Swinburne University in 1988. Sonny worked the next 10 years at Australia’s foremost models and effects company, Mothers Art Productions, in Melbourne. He left in 1998 as their senior project manager for film and television to pursue his interests in the specialized field of “animatronics” (the world of high-tech puppet making). Sonny’s work can be seen in US feature films such as Peter Pan, Ghostrider, The Chronicles of Narnia and Star Wars, The Revenge of the Sith as key animatronics engineer. His television credits include being lead animatronics engineer for the US science fiction series Farscape. Working there with the resources of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop was a great opportunity to develop his animatronic skills further. Although focusing on film and television Sonny has also made puppets for Australian theatrical touring productions of The Hobbit and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
To meet the technical and creative demands presented by Walking with Dinosaurs, the Arena Spectacular, Sonny is proud to have assembled an extraordinary team of talented artists and technicians from throughout Australia without whom none of what you see in this show would be possible.
Bachelor of Performing Arts in Design, National Institute of Dramatic Art, 1994. Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Hons.), University of New South Wales, 1986. Helpmann Award for Best Set Design in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Green Room Award for Best Opera Design in 1998 and 2002. Green Room Award for best Dance Design, 2005. Mike Walsh Fellowship, 1997. Finalist in the Pentagon Memorial Design Competition (with Room 4.1.3), 2002. Peter has designed over 50 event and theatrical productions including: For Bangarra Dance Theatre: Boomerang (Green Room Award 2005), Unaipon (Helpmann Award 2004), Bush, Walkabout, Skin and Fish. For Opera Australia: Sweeney Todd (Helpmann Award 2002, Green Room Award 2003), Simon Boccanegra, La Bohème and Madama Butterfly (Green Room Award 1998). For The Australian Ballet: Amalgamate, Aesthetic Arrest and The Rite of Spring. For the Shakespeare Theatre (Washington DC): Titus Andronicus, Richard III and Hamlet. For Sydney Theatre Company: Victory, The Virgin Mim, The School for Scandal and Betrayal. For the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Closing Ceremony: Sydney Handover. For the 2004 Adelaide Festival of Arts: Universal Playground. For the Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Awakening (Helpmann Award 2001). And for the City of Sydney: Millennium NYE Celebrations on and around Sydney Harbour.
Lighting Design credits include Sydney 2000 Olympic Games – Opening and Closing Ceremonies; Hong Kong’s original permanent cityscape display, A Symphony of Light and Singapore’s Marina Bay New Year’s Eve Countdown displays (on-going). Architectural commissions include, in 2004, Norman Foster’s iconic HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong (HSBC / LVM) and Outrigger O-CE-N, a 110-apartment resort, which opened in Bali in late 2007. Theatre productions include Lulu, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Trojans I & II, Aida, Die Walkure for Opera Australia; Red Earth, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, among others, for The Australian Ballet; Mulan – a 2005 Sydney Dance Company / Shanghai City Dance co-production 2005 to open the Shanghai International Arts Festival; The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, Wedding, The Protecting Veil for Royal New Zealand Ballet; musicals such as West Side Story, Return to the Forbidden Planet, The Rocky Horror Show, Kiss Me Kate; for Sydney Dance Company, 40 productions including Salome, Free Radicals, Synergy with Synergy, Fornicon, Beauty and the Beast, Viridian; for Sydney Theatre Company, 30 productions including the legendary Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; for Paul Dainty, Happy Days – the Arena Mega-Musical; for Warner Village Theme Parks, in 2006, their new permanent attraction, Australian Outback Spectacular.
Sound Designer Peter Hylenski is a Tony and Olivier Award nominated sound designer. He spends much of his time designing Broadway productions such as Shrek, the Musical, Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer and Sweet Charity. Peter has also designed shows for Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Gardens. Recently he co-produced the cast album of Shrek, the Musical for DreamWorks and was the sound supervisor on his fourth film for the American Museum of Natural History in New York titled Journey to the Stars.