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Bringing Broadway's "Life of Pi" tiger to life

From bestselling novel to Oscar-winning movie to Tony-nominated hit play, "Life of Pi" has captivated audiences with a tale of literal captivity. 

The story centers around a young boy, Pi Patel, and a Bengal tiger as they struggle to stay alive while adrift on a small boat.

Hiran Abeysekera has portrayed the title character onstage since the show's debut. 

"We all thought, 'Oh, wow, we have something special that could take us places," he said.

Those places have included London's West End, where the production received five Olivier Awards — including a highly unusual best supporting actor award for the puppetry team that controls the tiger.

The Broadway production this week received five Tony nominations, including best director and best sound design.

All of the sounds the tiger makes, including the roars, come from the puppeteers themselves during each live performance, not a backing track.

"There's lots of people working together," said Scarlet Wilderink, one of the puppeteers. "Designers, makers, sculptors, actors. So many people backstage and on stage that do so much to make this happen."

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