Sep 27

‘Marvel Universe Live!’ brings beloved characters to life with thrilling stunts

By: Katie Morris

Published: September 27, 2014

Fans have been reading Marvel comic books for decades and watching superheroes like Spider-man, Captain America and Iron Man sweep the box office and set records. Now, for the first time ever, audiences will get the chance to experience their favorite Marvel characters live and in-action.

Marvel’s first-ever, live-action arena spectacular “Marvel Universe Live!” puts fans right in the middle of an exhilarating battle of good versus evil. Atlanta fans will have two opportunities to catch the highly anticipated show, because it will be at Philips Arena Dec. 20-22 and The Arena at Gwinnett Center Dec. 26-28.

“Marvel Universe Live” has an original story that brings more than 25 Marvel characters, the most ever assembled in one production, together on one epic quest. It’s framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe. The Mighty Thor has shattered the cube to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, and the pieces are scattered all across the globe. Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only obliterate the Earth but also the entire Universe.

To defeat Loki, Marvel’s biggest super heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man and Wolverine, must band together to retrieve the Cosmic Cube fragments and unite them. As the super heroes track the cube, they will encounter some of their biggest adversaries including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Aldrich Killian, Electro and more.

A unique blend of aerial stunts, pyrotechnics and cutting-edge special effects really bring the show to life for audiences. The cast features performers from all over the world trained in everything from martial arts to motocross.

Featured performers include professional snow-skater and three-time X Games champ Phil Smage as Captain America, martial arts expert and AAU Junior Olympics/National Champion Kirk Jenkins as Wolverine. There will also be WMX Pro National Champion and two-time X Games winner Ashley Fiolek as Hydra Agent and 2012 X Games Silver Medalist Louise Forsley as Black Widow.

Gymnast Taylor Hemmeter plays a number of supporting roles including one of the Shield Agents battling Black Widow in the beginning of the show. She said the cast underwent a rigorous training and rehearsal schedule before opening the show.

“We spent three months at a huge training warehouse in Florida where we rehearsed six days a week for eight to 12 hours a day learning fight scenes, getting fitted for costumes and doing character research. We learned mannerisms. It was very detailed,” Hemmeter said. “The process was very long and intensive, but we were all there learning the show from the ground up. A lot of times you don’t get to build a show together from the very beginning.”

Hemmeter finds the show inspiring because of all the strong, dominant female characters featured throughout the show.

“I think so many of the Marvel movies that have come out recently have been mostly about the guys. The female characters in this show are so incredibly strong, and they do a lot of the heavy lifting work during the fight scenes,” Hemmeter said. “I think it’s great because it’s not just little boys who are into these super heroes, it’s girls, too. I love looking out at the audience and seeing little girls cheer for Black Widow, Captain Marvel and Madame Hydra.”

Albany native Bernard Lyght’s specialties are acrobatics and motorcycles — he plays a Chitauri, an evil alien, and is also Spider-Man’s understudy. He is looking forward to coming back to Georgia this December and has family coming to see him perform at the Gwinnett Arena.

“It honestly feels really good to be coming back home. We’ve spent a lot of time in big cities with tall buildings, and I can’t wait to get back to the country,” Lyght said.

Lyght feels “Marvel Univers Live!” is unlike any other show out there and it’s a good family show filled with action and thrills.

“One of my favorite stunts is the car flip,” Lyght said. “In one of the first scenes, Maria Hill and Nick Fury are being attacked by Chiatari. They start to get the better of them and they flip the vehicle on stage.”