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Superheroes save the day in new live show

By TAMARA LUSH Associated Press

ELLENTON, Fla. -- There's a moment at the start of the new Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes show when Spider-Man enters from backstage and zigzags through the air, soaring above the floor.

Such display of superpower strength is startling, the director says, and the scene still takes his breath away.

"It's an incredible entrance for Spider-Man, similar to the film. The guy who plays Spider-Man says it's one of the scariest things he's ever done and one of the most fun things he's ever done," said James Hadley, now preparing for the July 7 premiere at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

For the first time, fans of Marvel comic book characters can see their favorite superheroes all together in a live show, which will tour the U.S. and Canada through 2019. It's Feld Entertainment's first new show since announcing the end of its iconic Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The final Ringling show is May 21.

Feld Entertainment, the show's producer, says audiences will be treated to characters from Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man and the Avengers, as they defend the universe from evil.

Among the villains: Nebula, Loki, Yondu and Green Goblin.

All of the fan favorites are showcased, too: Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Wasp, Hulk and Black Widow. Captain America rides a motorcycle.

Note to parents: there will be lots of explosions and grand battles to engage the 3-to-10 age set.

"It's sort of our modern Aesop's fables. They're the heroes of our time. Even though they have these unlimited powers, they are always fighting for what's right and for what's good," Hadley said. "That's the message that's important now. Even when it looks like they're not going to succeed, they just keep pushing."

Hadley, who previously worked with Cirque du Soleil, said performers were chosen for their acrobatic skills and strength.

Special video effects and motorcycle stunts are also worked into the two-hour performance.

The last Marvel live show was in 2014, and it became a mecca for young children -- especially boys -- who loved the themes of superheroes, fighting, motorcycles, explosions and powers.

Kids often dressed up when attending the shows, which are basically like a comic book come to life.

The show's soft launch is scheduled June 23-25 in New Orleans, followed by the July 7 Los Angeles premiere.

The show will tour the West Coast during the summer, the Midwest in the fall, and then -- after a stop in Quebec -- will circle the nation in 2018 and early 2019 before going on international tour.

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