Don’t call it a costume!
When Olive, the baby stegosaurus is out and about with her handler, John Palmeri, she and John are very much in character. There’s no talk of special effects. No talk of puppeteering. They ARE a dinosaur and paleontological veterinarian.
Asked if she’s one of the stars of the show, Palmeri speaks as if you’re a guest at Jurassic Park. "She absolutely is,” he boasts, enthusiastically. “She's one of seven different dinosaur species, 21 different full-sized, fully lifelike dinosaurs that we're going to have in the show.”
The show is "Jurassic World Live Tour," and it’s coming to Fiserv Forum in November. Olive and Palmeri were speaking with TODAY’S TMJ4’s Vince Vitrano in the arena’s atrium this week. “So you'll see Olive in the show,” Palmeri said. “You'll see her mother, the full-sized stegosaurus. You'll see triceratops. You'll see fan favorites like Blue the velociraptor, and, of course, to quote John Hammond, 'We have a T-Rex.’ ”
Milwaukee is only the fourth stop on tour for Feld Entertainment’s new show. The lifelike dinosaur spectacle tells a story that fits into the “Jurassic Park” film series timeline. Palmeri said it falls between the fourth and fifth films in the franchise.
Once Olive retreats to backstage, Palmeri is out of character and forthcoming about the talent it takes to make dinosaurs come to life. “Especially in the case of the velociraptor, which gets very close to the audience,” he said. “You need to look smooth and predatory with what you're doing. You can't be just clunking around in these costumes.”
He refers to the people inside the costumes as dinoteers and as world-class athletes. Olive’s costume weighs 130 pounds. “You have to be able to carry and animate that load in a very, non-natural position for the human body,” Palmeri said.
As Olive and handler, the pair will make promotional stops all over Milwaukee this week, including schools, Discovery World, and visiting with fans at a Milwaukee Bucks game.