May 01, 2015 | 6:20 p.m.

‘Marvel Universe Live!’ stunt show stays true to ‘Avengers’ film franchise

“You don’t need to wear that.” Madison Embrey, who plays the tough-minded “Avengers” pal Maria Hill in the traveling “Marvel Universe Live!” show, noticed me struggling with my seat belt. I had arrived at the Forum on Thursday to experience what it feels like to be an Avenger. This weekend, as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” commandeers control of American movie palaces, “Marvel Universe Live!” has parked itself at the Inglewood arena, where Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man and more Marvel faces will punch and prance their way through a two-hour stunt show. My hope was to learn how to fire an arrow like Hawkeye. Instead, a souped-up car awaited me on the arena floor. The producers wanted to throw me into the deep end of the thrill-ride spectrum. Adrenaline first, skills later. Embrey was to be my copilot […]
March 24, 2015 | 12:30 p.m.

Spider-Man and ‘Marvel Universe Live’ swing into SoCal this weekend

Spider-Man may not be teaming with the Avengers on the big screen for some time, but Southern California fans can watch the webslinger side-by-side with Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow and even Wolverine and his fellow X-Men this week. The arena stunt show, “Marvel Universe Live,” which has been performed in various U.S. cities over the last year, opens in Anaheim on Thursday, before eventually making its way to Ontario and Inglewood. Bringing together more than 25 Marvel icons, the Feld Entertainment-produced show pits Spidey and other superheroes against some of the Marvel Universe’s most nefarious villains. The powerful cosmic cube — once shattered by Thor — has been reconstructed by Loki, who teams with baddies like Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Electro, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, to use the cube to destroy the planet. To celebrate the show’s Anaheim kickoff, the first 250 attendees dressed in a […]
Nov. 07, 2014 | 7:09 a.m.

‘Hunger Games’ headed to stage for London ‘theatrical experience’

If “The Hunger Games” bestselling book trilogy and blockbuster movie quartet weren’t enough, the pop culture juggernaut is headed to the stage. A “theatrical experience” based on the mega-franchise will launch in summer 2016 in a new “purpose-built theater” next to London’s Wembley Stadium, according to a press statement from “Hunger Games” movie studio Lionsgate. Dutch media company Imagine Nation and U.S.-based Triangular Entertainment are teaming with Lionsgate on the stage show, which aims to use “innovative and immersive staging techniques,” according to the release. Based on the bestselling books by Suzanne Collins and the Lionsgate films, the show will be co-produced by Imagine Nation cofounder and Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Robin de Levita. “The theater is a fantastic medium to bring the many meaningful layers of Suzanne Collins’ writing to life,” De Levita said in the press statement. De Levita’s recent […]
Jan. 28, 2014 | 3:57 p.m.

‘Marvel Universe Live’ arena stunt show tour dates, plot revealed

Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Wolverine and more Marvel superheroes are teaming up against supervillain Loki in “Marvel Universe Live,” a live-action arena stunt show set to begin touring this summer. Dates for the 85-city tour show were announced Tuesday, with the show kicking off in Tampa, Fla., in July before making its official world premiere at New York City’s Barclays Center on Aug. 13. Dates for Los Angeles performances have yet to be announced, but scheduled California stops include San Jose from March 20-22, 2015, Anaheim from March 27-29, Ontario from April 9-12 and San Diego from April 16-19. Ticket prices vary between dates and venues, but range from about $40 to over $175. PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of ‘Marvel Universe Live’ Feld Entertainment, which is producing the arena show, and Marvel Entertainment also offered a glimpse at the show’s […]
Oct. 29, 2013 | 2:10 p.m.

Danny Elfman celebrates Tim Burton film scores with symphonic concerts

Prolific composer Danny Elfman is celebrating his years-long cinematic partnership with Tim Burton in a unique way this week: Beginning a three-night run at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Elfman will present a live symphonic program of the 15 movie scores he’s penned for the filmmaker. “Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton” will even see Elfman take the stage to sing selections from the soundtrack of the stop-motion animated fable “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Conductor John Mauceri will lead the 87-piece Hollywood Symphony Orchestra through the three performances, which also will feature the 45-member Page L.A. Choir. The duo is soon set to begin work on their 16th collaboration, Burton’s forthcoming “Big Eyes” about the painter Margaret Keane and her husband, Walter, who took credit for her art. But in a recent interview about […]
Oct. 12, 2013 | 2:00 p.m.

‘Marvel Universe Live’: Behind the scenes of a superhero arena show

Kirk Jenkins doesn’t seem to notice the young woman suspended in the air in front of him, contorting her body through a hoop, or the man in a nearby corner, spinning a fighting stick. Instead, Jenkins sits on the side of the room of the Cirque School studio in Hollywood, intently focused on the steel blades in his hands. The Wolverine-reminiscent weapons are called kamas, and Jenkins grips them with controlled strength as he quietly goes through the motions of his 30-second audition routine. Jenkins, 24, who flew to Los Angeles from his home in Warrenton, Va., along with his father and coach Ron Jenkins, is one of hundreds of people to audition for “Marvel Universe Live,” a live-action arena stunt show that will unite many of Marvel’s most popular superheroes, including Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers. The Los […]
May 28, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Mickey and the Magical Map’ redraws Disneyland plans

Eastern philosophy is not the first thing one associates with the Disneyland Resort, but the message of the Fantasyland Theatre’s new and quite splendid stage show “Mickey and the Magical Map” is decidedly, and surprisingly, Zen. Or as Zen as a show can be in which young men and women in rustic fantasy-wear sing and dance their way through some of the studio’s greatest hits in front of a gorgeous three-tiered screen awash in animated wonder. Like many characters of his demo, Mickey Mouse is, above all, a seeker of enlightenment. In “Mickey and the Magical Map,” he’s back in Sorcerer’s Apprentice mode, trying to prove himself by filling in the final empty space on his master’s map. The black spot, which does not want to be painted, comes to life and takes Mickey on a magical, musical, multimedia tour. […]
March 28, 2013 | 8:38 a.m.

Superman turns 75: 75 super images of the Man of Steel

Superman looks good for 75. The Last Son of Krypton’s 75th anniversary coincides with the June 14 release of “Man of Steel,” easily one of the top 13 must-see movies of 2013. Superman arrived on the scene in June of 1938 in “Action Comics” No. 1, one of the most coveted comic books in history. (If you see a dusty copy of the original at a garage sale, snap it up. Only a few dozen copies are believed to be in existence. An original netted $2.1 million for actor and collector Nicolas Cage.) Quiz: How well do you know Superman? In that debut issue, Superman was introduced as a mythic hero and champion of the oppressed. The brainchild of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster proved so popular with readers that he soon landed his very own comic series. In honor of Superman’s 75th anniversary, […]
March 13, 2013 | 5:51 p.m.

Marvel, circus company join forces for superhero arena show

Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, along with other live shows such as Disney on Ice, is teaming up with Marvel Entertainment to produce a live arena show featuring Marvel characters. It’s the latest in a series of new ventures for the company that created the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk, including two upcoming animated series, a Web series and a new digital comics platform. An arena or stage show featuring comic-book characters has been done — witness last year’s ‘Batman Live’ and the accident-prone “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” — but Kenneth Feld, CEO of Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment, believes that his company’s experience with these types of acrobatic shows could make the difference. “What [the ‘Spider-Man’ Broadway show] tried to do was new for them, but it’s the stuff we […]
March 11, 2013 | 9:53 a.m.

Douglas Adams’ 61st birthday: A hitchhiker’s puzzle filled with clues

Douglas Adams’ 61st birthday is being marked with a Google Doodle that would make the author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” proud. But “Don’t Panic” if you looked at the Google Doodle and wondered … “what is that supposed to be?” The interactive doodle draws on several allusions to the late English humorist’s writing, down to the rumpled towel said to be an important part of any trip. There’s a cup of tea, a packed back, a manuscript, the galaxy whizzing by outside the window. You can also see Marvin the robot by clicking on the sliding doors to the left, and you can tap the e-reader’s keyboard for several inside references. Most of it, though, will likely be lost on those unfamiliar with the author, who died at the age of 49 from a heart attack. He […]
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