The theatrical rights to Marvel’s large library of superheroes is one of the most coveted assets in touring. After over a decade of pursuit, entertainment mogul Kenneth Feld has secured the rights to take Spiderman, Thor, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, all of the X-Men and the insufferable Doctor Doom on the road for an epic traveling battle between good and evil — that until recently, many had believed to be impossible to stage.
Leave it to Mr. Fantastic to pull it off. Like the elastic patriarch of the Fantastic Four, Kenneth Feld is stretching the tour all over the globe, with a 2014 summer launch for the four-year tour, beginning with a two-year run of North American arenas before heading overseas.
“The greatest thing about Marvel is their characters,” said Juliette Feld, daughter to Kenneth and producer of Marvel Universe Live. “The Marvel superheros are complex — they are heroes but they have real vulnerabilities. That makes them very relatable.”
Disney’s purchase of Marvel in 2009 helped make the deal possible — Feld tours several Disney-themed ice shows every year. The storyline for the piece and concept is still in development, but Juliette Feld said the show brings “together the most Marvel villains and superheroes” ever to share a stage in a theatrical production. The Marvel deal gives Feld creative access to Marvel's entire catalogue of superheroes and villains.
The show will be directed by Shanda Sawyer, whose credits include Feld’s “Dragons – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus” and will be mounted at Feld’s new Florida campus in Ellenton, outside of Sarasota. Details on the feel of the show are sparse, and Juliette Feld said the company plans to “tease out the details as we get close to our opening date. Right now we’re working closely with the editors at Marvel to create something authentic.”
The upside potential for merchandising and VIP experiences could surpass anything ever done in family shows. Fans should likely expect a special effects bonanza — advances in live show theatrical effects, many developed by Feld, make it easy to imagine Silver Surfer flying across the arena or The Thing teaming up with Captain America to clobber a super villain.
“This is the largest and most complex show that Feld Entertainment has ever done,” said Juliette Feld. “The creative efforts and R&D we are putting into the show are absolutely genre-busting.”
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