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The Caped Crusader is unmasked at Resch Center

Hailey Alfred, Website Manager
December 4, 2012
Filed under Entertainment

Pow! Zoink! Blam! Batman is taking action in a whole new way. Vigilante, the Dark Knight, hero and menace are descriptive words for the famous DC Comics character Batman. Batman was originally created by Bob Kane in 1939 in response to DC comics’ search for more heroes like Superman. Kane modeled Batman after another famous masked vigilante, Zorro. From his comic books beginnings to his movie stardom, the superhero is now taking the stage in “Batman-Live World Arena Tour.” The live performance stopped at the Resch Center Nov. 27 and 28.

After two-and-a-half years of planning, “Batman Live — World Arena Tour” first premiered in the U.K. July 19, 2011. Writer Allan Heinberg created an original story for the show.

“It’s the first time in DC Comic history that Batman has been presented in a story in front of a live audience,” said Nick Grace, executive producer of “Batman Live.” “We have created a visually stunning spectacle, big enough to tour in arenas around the world, but we wanted to make sure there was a story with heart too.”

“Batman Live” tells the story of Dick Grayson’s evolution into Robin, and his quest for justice. Along the way he meets his hero, Batman, who also happens to be his protective guardian, Bruce Wayne.

“Batman Live” has appeared in 15 countries and 28 cities and has performed in six languages.

There are several elements making this production of Batman unique. One element is the 105 foot bat-shaped LED video wall that brings the audience into the pages of the Batman comic. It also functions as a moving ever-changing backdrop for the performance.

“Batman has never been seen live on stage before,” said George Turvey, playing Batman. “I think it really pushes the boundaries with the use of multi-media, via the huge bat shaped screen at the back of the stage helping to set each scene.”

Another unique element is the 3-D Gotham landscape. The stage is about 60 feet by 100 feet and is made up of 305 custom-made decks, which use about 14,800 magnets as part of the fixing system. It takes two days to build the production in each arena and only five hours to dismantle.

“I like to describe the show as a comic book come to life,” Grace said.  “Gotham City and the characters from it are brought to life in a way that can’t be experienced in film or TV. The audience is immersed in a 3-D Gotham City landscape as soon as they set foot in the arena. The stage itself is a map of Gotham City, complete with 3-D buildings rising up through the stage.”

Designed by the racecar designer Pr. Gordon Murry, a hand-crafted Batmobile took 16 weeks to complete.

The cast is made up of 42 actors and circus-trained acrobats. In addition, there are 73 staff members, which includes the production executives and setup crew.

On the good side are Batman, Robin, Alfred Pennyworth and Commissioner Gordon. Batman is confronted by his famous nemeses Two-Face, The Riddler, Poison Ivy, The Penguin, Catwoman, The Joker and Harley Quinn.

This combination of elements transport the audience into the world of Batman.

“Batman is a world icon and one of the most celebrated and recognizable super heroes of all time,” Turvey said. “Growing up, Batman was always a part of my life. I watched reruns of the Adam West series and was a huge fan of the film from the series. Then when the Tim Burton Batman came out, I was hooked. I would say that The Dark Knight is one of my favorite films of all time.”

Die-hard Batman fan and UW-Green Bay alumnus, Chelsea Trinkner was very impressed with the show.

“I love Batman,” Trinkner said. “My whole family is nerds, and I have read and seen everything involving Batman. I was especially excited to see Harley Quinn and Catwoman in the performance. They are my two other favorite comic book characters.”

“Batman Live” has theatrical appeals to attract young and old in the battle for justice.