It looks like Spider-Man won't be the only iconic comic superhero to grace the live stage. Not to be outdone by Mighty Marvel, the folks over at DC have have plucked one of their own signature characters out of comics and movies to make his debut under spotlight on the proscenium in front of a live audience. That's right folks, Batman is coming to the live theater to kick some ass in a new show called BATMAN LIVE. However, it seems that stateside folks may have to wait a while for this one to grace US soil. With its debut set for July 20, 2011 in Manchester, England, it will tour the UK and Europe, before beginning its North American tour by summer 2012. Now, for those of you still experiencing the "ROTF" of the "ROTFLMAO" process about what we've seen of upcoming musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, rest easy: It's NOT a musical. (And despite the above pic, will not star Julie Andrews.) However, the show seems to be billed as action-packed, based off an original story that seems to have the approving nods of comic greats like Jim Lee and Geoff Johns.
According to the description:
"BATMAN LIVE is a visually stunning production, complete with a brand new original storyline. The live show will feature Batman, his trusty counterpart Robin, tireless butler Alfred and a host of other favourite Batman characters, including Villains such as The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman and The Penguin. The story will take place in several settings from the famed DC Comics stories, including Gotham City, Wayne Manor, the Batcave and Arkham Asylum."
This sounds to be quite an ambitious production. Besides the amount of creative effort it will take to reproduce the aforementioned settings, the logistics of the performances themselves will be extremely demanding. Action movies have the benefit of multiple takes, stunt-doubles, and CGI because, simply put: People get hurt. With a touring production putting on a live show, the fight choreography will have to be impeccable each and every time. In the (likely) event of one wild swing by the random understudy on stage for his first time playing "Thug #5," suddenly your star has a broken orbital bone and your production is in BIG trouble. As producer Nick Grace of Water Lane Productions (whose company is jointly producing with Warner Bros.) describes the scope of its action:
"BATMAN LIVE will feature impressive stunts, pyrotechnics, illusions and video screen sequences. Totally authentic, bold and awe-inspiring, BATMAN LIVE will offer a completely new way to experience the world of Batman and will be a must-see for fans and families everywhere."
Grace also lays out quite a different vision that one would evoke when the idea of a stage show is mentioned. While we saw some flashiness and tongue-in-cheek style in the previews for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, BATMAN LIVE is taking the opposite approach, reproducing the dark, bleak, and gothic sensibilities which perfectly characterize the mood of Gotham's night-stalking vigilante. According to Grace:
"This is not a musical but a high quality live show with a thrilling Batman story, filled with action, that will appeal to adults, teenagers and families," said Nick Grace. "Batman is more than a comic book character, he's a cultural phenomenon and we are proud to have this opportunity to be involved with one of the most popular DC Super Heroes in the world today."
Yet, running the show, is director Anthony Van Lasst, whose stage credits include Mamma Mia!, Sister Act, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Will this man be able to help convey the obsessed and tortured nature of Bruce Wayne's soul as he battles his most famous psychopathic nemeses? That, indeed, is the primary question.
The description certainly sounds like a breakthrough stage show, but how is it sounding to you? Would Batman be enough to make you roll out to 'ole theater with a monocle handle in one hand and a Playbill in the other?
Source: Broadway World (via ComicBookMovie)