Marvel heroes take their 'powers' to live stage show

The 'Marvel Universe LIVE!' show promises an escape from the princesses and circus animals of other large arena shows. It still includes merchandising, sure to leave kids tugging on their parents' sleeves for gadgets that save the day.

Marvel Universe LIVE!
A scene of the superhero cast of 'Marvel Universe LIVE!' which will tour across 85 US cities beginning in late July.

Many parents may choose to dodge singing princesses on ice or circus arena spectacular experiences when Ice Capades or Ringling Brothers come to town.

Now that “Marvel Universe LIVE!” is about to make the rounds with a storyline highlighting the struggle between good and evil, some families may find a worthwhile reason to enter the arena of big ticket family events, just so long as the pricey souvenirs don’t overshadow the story on stage.

I have four sons who aren’t fans of the other national touring “Broadway for kids” events  created by Feld Entertainment, which is behind the Marvel show tour.

However, my boys are intrigued by the Marvel events, touring 85 cities, starting with Tampa, Florida in late July, followed by a world premiere at New York City’s Barclays Center on August 13.

The first leg of its North American tour will include stops in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Nashville, Miami, and Atlanta, among many other smaller cities around the east coast.

At our house, when it comes to choosing what to go see as a family, our boys have made it clear their guidelines are: No singing. No dancing. No ice. No monster trucks. No elephants in captivity. No kidding.

“I promise there’s no signing, dancing, elephants, or ice,” says Brian Reinert, spokesperson for Feld Entertainment, in an interview.

“But there will be motocross with X-Games star athletes as well as some famous martial artists performing stunts by the same people who did the stunt coordination for the Avengers films,” Mr. Reinert adds.

This news pleases my finicky bunch of show stoppers for sure.

The storyline of the Marvel event is built around the recent storyline from the latest Avengers film and the battle over the Cosmic Cube, a source of “ultimate power.”

Thor – the one who’s male and not the new female version – shatters the cube in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

Pieces of the cube are scattered across the globe. It’s a race against Thor’s villainous brother Loki to find all the pieces, reconstruct the cube and save the universe.

Marvel’s A-List of super heroes including: The Avengers - Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor, along with Spider-Man and Wolverine, must trek across the globe to retrieve the Cosmic Cube fragments and unite them. As the superheroes track the Cube, they will encounter some of their biggest adversaries including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Aldrich Killian, Electro, and others.

I’m pretty sure this is going to get my sons over their anti-arena event mindset which they developed after we attended the circus in Philadelphia about 11 years ago. Sadly, all my kids recall of that event is that “the elephants looked really sad” and that their father and I were “mean” for not spending a mint on the light-up LED toys being hawked at the event.

The blinking toys are the bane of parental existence at many large-scale family events. The Marvel tour is no exception, with the $25 light up Tony Stark “Electrolink” wristbands for sale which kids “activate” as part of the show to help Ironman power back up when he’s dangerously low in energy.

“I would have one on each wrist,” my son Quin, age 10, gushed at the mention of the devices and storyline.

Wow! That’s’ one powerful $50 merchandising hit if it worked on my kid standing in my living room.

I suppose forewarned is forearmed and I’ll probably instead buy my youngest son a wrist watch that lights up that can help “activate” Iron Man, all while keeping time.

Gadgets aside, I’m excited because Marvel comics stand out for me as a parent seeking good talking points for life lessons for both kids and teens.

From Thor and Loki’s sibling rivalry, to Odin’s decisions on disciplining unruly boys and how to cope with trust issues, I have always come away from a Marvel movie with boys who have a lot to debate and discuss with each other and me.

The fact that these values are played-out amid both good and evil geniuses, buff guys in tights with things that go, “THWACK,” “BOOM,” and “VROOM”  just makes them more accessible to kids.

As they say in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

I am eager to see how that power and responsibility balance out with the new Marvel live shows.

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