TAMPA, Fla. - The Avengers are assembling at the Tampa Bay Times Forum this week, but they'll have some fan favorites featured to fight alongside them.
For fans of all things Marvel, the Marvel Universe Live! show is one-stop shopping. Not only does it feature The Avengers, Spider-Man also makes an appearance along with some of the X-Men for high-flying superhero action.
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Ellenton-based Feld Entertainment paired up with the creators of Marvel to put together a live action show that centers around the "Cosmic Cube" and its unparalleled powers. After the pieces of the all-powerful cube are scattered around the globe, the superheroes assemble to gather the pieces and reunite them before Thor's brother, Loki, clones its powers in a plan that would not only destroy the earth, but the entire universe.
The show includes pyrotechnics, car chases, stunts, flying, and projection technology to "transport" fans around the world.
Of course, there is also fire.
The show took two years to put together and the cast of more than 50 has been rehearsing for the past three months. Tampa is the first stop on the show's 85 city tour in North America. "We worked really closely with Marvel and with Joe Quesada, who's the Chief Creative Officer there, to create a story that's very authentic. And we worked through every element of these characters, including their flying styles. Each character flies in a different way, so we designed harnesses and special fly equipment to emulate that style," said Juliette Feld of Feld Entertainment.
The production company that puts on Monster Jam and the Nuclear Cowboyz along with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus drew on some of their past experience to execute Marvel Universe Live.
"We're definitely building on our expertise, with Ringling Brothers, Disney on Ice, motor sports, but we're doing so much that's never been done before. The extensive use of video projection has never been done in this magnitude in any production any place. We also have more flying than has ever been done in a show, so this show is truly prototypical in its production," Feld said.
Bay area native Benjamin Aycrigg, 23, who grew up in Riverview, landed the part of "Cyclops," leader of the X-Men. "It's pretty cool, he gets to shoot optic beams out of his eyes!" said Aycrigg. "It's one of the biggest things I've been a part of. For instance, some of the scenes there's 50 people all on the stage, just battling it out. I mean, I've never been a part of something like that," he said.
The pressure, said Feld, was in rising to the expectations of Marvel fans, and delivering. "Fans have so many expectations of these characters because they're superheroes, so the biggest challenge was bringing heroes to life and delivering what fans expect," she said. "I hope that when they come in to see the show, they'll really see that we've done absolutely everything to bring their fantasies to life."
Marvel Universe Live! runs from July 10-13. Tickets are still available.
You can head to the Marvel Universe Live website for more information.