AT&T Dolphin Tales (partially lost recording of soundtrack from aquarium show; early 2010s)
AT&T Dolphin Tales was a dolphin show that played at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia between 2011 and 2016. The show was iconic for its larger-than-life effects and projections, fully orchestrated score, talented live actors, and obviously, the dolphins. The show was designed around the Georgia Aquarium’s auditorium, which contains a 1.8 million gallon pool and can seat up to 1,800 people. The show was an instant hit with guests, with reviewers marveling over the show’s music and dolphin behaviors. With a production as big and popular as this, it was no surprise that a studio soundtrack from the show was released. However, likely due to the closing of the show, the soundtrack has not resurfaced online since, and there is incredibly little information on the soundtrack online.
Dolphin Tales, sponsored by AT&T, opened on April 2nd, 2011 at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. The show was designed for the aquarium’s new dolphin gallery and theatre. The show featured some impressive technical feats, such as projections, lighting effects, live performers, and live dolphins. The show was produced and directed by Emmy award winners and had a full orchestral soundtrack composed by Timothy Williams. Williams is well-known by the theme park community for doing various works for Disney Parks, Universal, and SeaWorld, among many other film and television scores. The score was recorded in Los Angeles with a 61-piece orchestra.
Dolphin Tales was met with lots of critical acclaim from critics and audiences, especially families. Many loved the show’s use of effects, dolphins, and live performers. Not all reviews were positive, with many calling the show “cheesy” and losing its message of respecting and loving dolphins  Nonetheless, the show was a big success.
In December 2015, Dolphin Tales seemed to have been temporarily replaced with an educational dolphin show. This show advertised being an educational presentation on how the dolphins are trained . In January 2016, this presentation was officially titled AT&T Splash 101, and was still being shown in lieu of Dolphin Tales .
It was announced on January 3rd, 2016 that, after playing 4,618 shows for aquarium guests, Dolphin Tales had officially closed. In February 2016, it was announced that AT&T Splash 101 was a temporary replacement for a new dolphin show, which was in development at the time . On March 31st, 2016, a new show, titled Dolphin Celebration, opened at the auditorium. The show was also sponsored by AT&T.
The show followed the charismatic adventurer known as StarSpinner, a sailor who weaves stories about the ocean and its creatures into the stars and constellations as he takes the audience on an adventure filled with good versus evil, and tons of dolphins.
The show begins with a narrator telling the story of the StarSpinner. The narrator tells how StarSpinner would sail around the world on his ship, accompanied by his dolphin friends. The dolphins would tell him their stories, which he would then weave into stars. Until one day, an evil sea monster came and sank his ship, leaving the StarSpinner in need of the audience’s help to retrieve it.
The StarSpinner then introduces himself and sings about the magic of the ocean, whilst dolphins do tricks. He tells the audience that his ship sank right around this spot (the dolphin pool) and how he needs their voices to help raise the ship. The StarSpinner instructs the audience to raise their voices, and after that does not work, he leads them in a song to raise the ship. With the audience’s assistance, the ship rises from the ocean (shown on a projector screen), and the StarSpinner’s old crew-mates accompany him once more.
However, the sea monster returns to attack the ship. StarSpinner tells the audience how he believes the audience has given him the power to defeat the sea monster once and for all. This quickly proves to be in vain, as the sea monster takes over his ship once again, separating him from his crew. StarSpinner tells the crowd that they must summon the North Wind, master of the air, and the dolphins, the masters of the sea. After leading the audience in breathing exercises, the North Wind comes to help free the ship. An instrumental break commences, as the sea monster’s henchmen fight StarSpinner and his crew, while dolphins do behaviors.
Following the big fight, the StarSpinner reigns victorious and sings a song thanking the audience for their help in retrieving his ship. The song also draws back to the moral of the show: the beauty and grace of dolphins. The StarSpinner leaves the crowd, with the show ending with a grand finale featuring numerous of their dolphins doing behaviors.
Not much information is known about the studio recording of Dolphin Tales. The earliest known mention of a professional recording found online was a video posted to YouTube on October 31st, 2012 by a channel called rdgatlanta10 titled "Star Spinner in training." The video is a compilation of the uploader's child at the aquarium, dressed in a homemade StarSpinner costume. The background song is a professionally recorded version of the song "Always Here For You" from the end of the show. According to cdtrrracks.com, the full length of "Always Here for You" is 3:51, meaning that the video cuts off before the song finishes.
On May 21st, 2018, another YouTube channel, titled Circus Lover 1997, uploaded a video titled "Dancing To Georgia Aquarium's AT&T Dolphin Tales Magic Of The Sea!:)." Like the title implies, the uploaded dances to what sounds like a professional recording of the song "Magic of the Sea." Since the audio quality is a little fuzzy, it's difficult to tell if it is a recording from the live show or if it's a recording. The audio quality is quite high quality if it is a live recording. Since the show's ending song was professionally released, it is assumed that "Magic of the Sea" was as well. Interestingly, on the "Star Spinner in training" video, the name of the song used was confirmed in the comment section by Circus Lover 1997, implying that they may have gotten the full album.
On October 30, 2021, a YouTube channel called ArtSeaEli uploaded the first known upload of nearly the entire score. This confirmed the number of tracks on the soundtrack, as well as the track names. It is unknown how the uploader got these files. Unfortunately, the song "Always Here For You" has not been uploaded in its entirety, and is still being searched for.
It is currently unknown when or where the soundtrack was released, as well as what songs were released. The cdtrrracks page alleges that the recording CD was released in 2010, which lends support to the theory that it could've been released as part of marketing for the new show (it wouldn't open until 2011). Furthermore, it is unknown who sang for the part of StarSpinner.
|1||"Preshow"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli. Plays before the show.|
|2||"Prologue"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli.|
|3||"From the Stars"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli.|
|4||"Magic of the Sea"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli.|
|5||"Raise the Ship"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli.|
|6||"Battle"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli.|
|7||"Always There for You"||Partially Found||Only the intro has been uploaded by ArtSeaEli. Bits and pieces can be heard in the "StarSpinner in training" video, but video clips overlay most of the music. The video also cuts mid-song.|
|8||"Goodbye"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli.|
|9||"Finale"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli.|
|10||"Sail With Me"||Found||Uploaded by ArtSeaEli. The context behind this song is unknown; it either played as the crowd exited the theatre or it was cut altogther.|
- The Wayback Machine archive of the rules of the theatre.
- An article by Georgia Tech about the technical feats of the show.
- The "Rules of the Theatre" presentation that showed before every show.
- The project portfolio by Electrosonic, who did the audio and visuals for the show.
- InPark Magazine article describing the technical feats of the show. Retrieved 29 Mar '21
- Georgia Aquarium news article describing the production and opening. Retrieved 29 Mar '21
- Composer Timothy Williams’s biography. Retrieved 29 Mar '21
- A positive review for Dolphin Tales. Retrieved 29 Mar '21
- A negative review for Dolphin Tales, calling it "cheesy." Retrieved 29 Mar '21
- A Wayback Machine capture explaining the first known closure of Dolphin Tales Retrieved 10 Jan '22
- The announcement of AT&T Splash 101 Retrieved 10 Jan '22
- More on Splash 101 Retrieved 10 Jan '22
- The blog post announcing the replacement of Dolphin Tales. Retrieved 29 Mar '21
- An article that describes the story. Retrieved 29 Mar '21
- The "StarSpinner in training" video, containing the vast majority of the song "Always Here for You." Retrieved 6 Dec '22
- The cdtrrracks page, which allegedly states the song titles, length, and distribution year. Retrieved 6 Dec '22
- The "dancing to 'Magic of the Sea'" video, which is believed to not contain the professionally recorded song. Retrieved 6 Dec '22