When I first witnessed Disney on Ice as a wide-eyed boy, it was pure magic. The choreography, the characterization, it was all so big, so immersive. Now, as a 38-year-old father of three, Marvel Universe: Age of Heroes feels just as big, only now coupled with the understanding that much like a household, it truly takes a village to make the magic a reality.
With Age of Heroes, you're literally under the same roof as Captain America, as Spiderman swings triumphantly into your line of sight. You can smell the exhaust from the motorcycles, and take in the sheer enormity of The Incredible Hulk, standing right before your eyes. It's an immersive experience, not only for superhero aficionados, but for anyone who appreciates the spectacle of a live action performance. And a spectacle this is.
I recently attended a sneak peak of Ages of Heroes, a stage show currently touring the U.S., that includes dozens of the Marvel heroes and villains, including the wildly popular Guardians of the Galaxy. The story revolves around the race to get the Wand of Watoomb back from Loki, who's planning on taking over the world. But frankly, plot matters little here, as you will have forgotten it once you've gotten home that night. And that's okay.
RELATED: An Everyday Superhero Celebration
While my jaw hung open as Groot towered above us all, I was reminded in a roundabout way of the joy of attending a live performance. In short, Age of Heroes feels like a superhero rock concert. And like with any concert, there's an intimacy with the performers you simply can't get with a TV screen, no matter how large. You feel the fire. You smell the smoke. And no piece of technology can come close to replicating the visceral feeling of being there in person to see, smell, and experience these things.
On the surface, Age of Heroes is exactly what you'd expect from a stage show involving superheroes—epic battles, daring stunts, and an entertaining, if not eternally familiar battle of good vs. evil. It's the kind of show that engages kids and kids at heart, because who can honestly say that they don't enjoy watching a live demonstration of parkour?
A personal live demonstration of parkour, by the way, I got to experience the day after the show, with the actual performers, sans costumes or makeup. I also spoke with the costume designer, stunts coordinator, and several of the behind-the-scenes staff who don't get their pictures taken swinging from webs. And I realized two very important elements of any successful production:
For one, it literally takes a village of people to make an event like this run seamlessly. The second realization occurred while speaking with Captain America himself, played by Clark Myers and Black Widow, played by Louise Forsley, in talking about the role their parents played in getting them on stage.
Regarding his affinity for riding motorcycles, Myers told me, "I think it makes him [dad] proud that I took a hobby and turned it into a job. He is extremely proud and so happy."
Forsley, had similar support from her dad. "He [my father] always chose to push me really hard to ride as much as I could. If it wasn't for him telling me every day that I could do it and supporting me, I wouldn't be here," she said.
This got me to thinking about how pivotal our roles as parents are in the career paths of our children. We have more power than we even realize. In the case of Age of Heroes, it was clear to me that many parents were involved with putting together an event filled with happy, successful (grown) children.
I'm learning that the magic we see on stage begins with how the "magicians" are encouraged to explore that magic as they grow older. Trust me when I say, the magic is evident with Age of Heroes.
For tickets and more information, go to https://www.marveluniverselive.com/.