If you’ve seen “Marvel Universe Live!” in previous years, don’t expect the same show when “Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes” swings into Greenville this weekend, according to actor Mark Ferrando, who plays Electro in the show.
“The ‘Marvel Universe Live!’ show you might have seen previously had a different cast of characters and story, but this one is all new,” he said by phone. “From what I’ve heard from everyone who has seen both shows, this one is above and beyond what the other one was in terms of stunt work, storytelling and overall entertainment value.”
“Age of Heroes” is a new story that sees several Marvel superheroes, including Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy, banding together to save the universe from a team of villains.
Shows are scheduled daily Thursday through Sunday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
“You can expect something like the Avengers movies, but a new story,” Ferrando said. “Loki is trying to steal the Wand of Watoomb, so Doctor Strange calls the heroes together to try and stop him. We travel throughout the galaxy to the mythical city of K'un L'un where we run into Iron Fist, and they bring him along with Black Panther, Wasp and the other Avengers and Guardians to try to save the universe.”
Ferrando, a native of California, said “Age of Heroes” offers plenty to reasons to attend, especially if you’re a fan of the Marvel comic books.
“This is the first time you’ll ever see the Guardians of the Galaxy in live action,” he said. “In the theme parks, you might see them walking around, but you won’t see them anywhere else like this. This is the first time the Guardians and the Avengers have come together. We know it’s coming in the movies, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
He said the scale of the production is also bigger.
“My favorite part of the show happens at the beginning of the show when Nebula comes onto Yondu’s ship looking for the Wand of Watoomb for Loki,” he said. “When she comes, she comes with a group of evil Chitauri and at that moment lights come up one by one so you suddenly get an idea of how grand the show is going to be. There’s probably 30 people on stage at that point. They have really large fight scenes, motorcycles coming in and out, we’ve got stunt falls and action scenes, and lots of great fighting happening on the stage all at once. The scale is pretty remarkable.”
Ferrando, who has previously performed in adult-oriented shows such as The Blue Man Group and for the Metropolitan Opera, said being a part of a family-oriented production has been rewarding in ways he never imagined possible.
“There’s something about making kid’s dreams come true,” he said. “I get to be there as all the well-known heroes come out. You’ve got Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Iron Man, and to hear those kids cheer every time someone new comes out is the best feeling in the world. All of the audience reacts. I see the parents jumping up with joy. I really live for that excitement. You know you’re taking someone out of whatever situation they may be in and you’re putting them on an equal level with everyone else there. You can just see the adults go, ‘Wow. It’s great to be a kid again.’ I love inspiring that level of positivity and awe in people.”
He encourages parents on the fence about buying tickets to give the show a chance.
“The stunts in the show aren’t tailored for kids,” he said. “The script is obviously a family oriented, kid-friendly story, but the stunts are high level. Our audience for that is the parents. We have performers coming to the show who are really surprised at what we’re doing. If people are thinking, ‘It’s easy to make a kid’s show because kids don’t have high expectations,’ well, they are usually our toughest critics and this show does not let anyone down in any way.”
You can go
What: "Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes"
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville
Cost: Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased at the box office or online.
Social Media: Use hashtag #MarvelLiveGVL