Marvel comics, circus producer team up for live show

Some of Marvel's most recognizable faces are banding together for a live show. Marvel Comics

The people who bring you The Greatest Show on Earth will be taking Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor and the Fantastic Four on a worldwide road show.

Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, along with a host of other live shows such as Disney on Ice, has announced a partnership Wednesday with Marvel Entertainment to produce a live arena show featuring some of the most well-known characters from the Marvel universe.

Exact financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but production costs will likely exceed $10 million, Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press in announcing the partnership. Feld said he expects the show to open in July 2014, and to tour arenas domestically and internationally, in the same fashion as the company's other shows.

The show is in the early stages of development in a new training center that Feld runs in Ellenton, Fla. Feld and Marvel said there is close collaboration to ensure the characters act in ways consistent with fans' understanding. Quesada said the director -- veteran choreographer Shanda Sawyer, who has directed various iterations of the Ringling circus and won Emmy awards for her television work -- took a deep dive into Marvel mythology that took him aback.

"We had to pull her back," Quesada said. "I told her, 'I think you're even geeking me out.'"

Trying to bring superhuman characters to life in a live show can be daunting and even dangerous, as evidence by the difficulties suffered in launching the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Several performers suffered injuries ranging from concussions to fractured skulls in what became the most expensive show in Broadway history. The $75 million show has since become one of Broadway's top earners.

"What they tried to do was new for them, but it's the stuff we do all the time in a lot of our businesses," Feld said.

While details of the show remain either under wraps or under development, Feld said the basic plotline is a no-brainer: "The world will be in jeopardy, and the Marvel superheroes will save the world."

  • CBS News Staff

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