'Apollo 11 - The Immersive Live Show' will be coming to Houston

KPRC was invited for sneak peek inside the show's newly built Lunar Dome

Rose-Ann Aragon reporting

PASADENA, Calif. – Just before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is the launch of a show unlike any other.

"Apollo 11 - The Immersive Live Show" will have its red carpet premiere Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

The show includes 40,000 square feet of video projection inside a newly built lunar dome that will travel to Houston for showings during the holidays. KPRC was the only Houston TV station invited to the premiere to give Houston a sneak peek.

Apollo 11 - The Immersive Live Show

This is an immersive experience taking as many as 1,600 audience members through the history of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Lead producer Nick Grace came up with the idea three years ago and has worked on putting it together ever since.

Apollo 11 the Immersive Live Show at the newly built #LunarDome is premiering tomorrow night in Los Angeles. We are here! We are the only Houston station invited to give you a sneak peek! Lead producer Nick Grace talks about how cool this unique experience is! It is coming to Houston! KPRC2 / Click2Houston #Apollo11 #Apollo50th

Posted by KPRC2 Rose-Ann Aragon on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

"It's so inspiring. It's just an amazing story," Grace said.

The show takes the audience through the history through the eyes of Ben, a retired NASA aerospace engineer, who is hoping to get his 15-year-old granddaughter interested in space and NASA's history of exploration.

"We have a world-class creative team who created this show," Grace said. "We have an original story and an original score which we recorded in London a couple of months ago with a 70-piece orchestra."

Grace contacted Apollo 11 gold flight director Gerald "Gerry" Griffin to make sure the script and storytelling of the actual landing was accurate, despite the story of Ben and his granddaughter being a work of fiction.

"The show is very accurate. Technically, extremely accurate," Griffin said. "There was, of course, some license ... the show is very entertaining. It really is an honor to those who made the lunar landing possible 50 years ago."

Lead actor, Ken Stirbl, who plays Grandpa Ben, the retired NASA aerospace engineer, said it is a show that he hopes will get people excited to explore space and experience the landing in a special and unique way.

"I want them to have a sense of awe. I want them to be engaged. I want them to be inspired," Stirbl said. "If they're with their families, I want them talking about the space program."

Another lead actress, Raquel Cain, who plays Ben's 15-year-old granddaughter, Sydney, said the story is also about honoring the people who worked behind the scenes to make the landing happen.

"This is their story. This is not, though they are amazing -- this is not the story of the astronauts. This is the story of the people who are behind the scenes. It shows their humanity and not only their work on it but the support for their families and friends," Cain said.

When will it come to Houston?

Right now, the show is taking place in Pasadena, California, just outside the Rose Bowl. The premiere will include a red carpet with guests including those who worked on Apollo 11 mission 50 years ago including Griffin and his family, and CAPCOM controller Charlie Duke. "Apollo 11 - The Immersive Live Show" will have eight to 11 performances in 18 major areas of North America between now and December 2022.

It's expected to come to Houston during the holidays. The Lunar Dome will be set up outside of Space Center Houston.

By the numbers

  • Lunar Dome seats 1,600.
  • 20 actors will tell the story.
  • The lunar dome will have 40,000 square feet of stunning 360-degree video projection and brought to life by world-class theater design. 
  • The musical score was recorded in London with a 70-piece orchestra.
  • "Apollo 11 - The Immersive Live Show" will tour 18 major North American markets between July 2019 and December 2022.
  • 2.4+ million anticipated ticket sales over three years.
  • The life-sized lunar lander replica featured in the show weighs 2 metric tons.
Just before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is the launch of a show unlike any other.