Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Entertainment

March 13, 2013

Marvel Entertainment, circus producer to team up on live show

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — The people who bring you The Greatest Show on Earth will be taking Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor and the Fantastic Four on a worldwide road show.

Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, along with a host of other live shows such as Disney on Ice, is announcing a partnership Wednesday with Marvel Entertainment to produce a live arena show featuring the Marvel universe of characters.

Exact financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. But Kenneth Feld, CEO of Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment, said he expects the show to open in July 2014, and tour arenas domestically and internationally, as the company's other shows do. Production costs will likely exceed $10 million, Feld told The Associated Press in announcing the partnership.

Feld Entertainment has expanded in recent years to acquire several motor sports and monster truck shows aimed at expanding its appeal beyond the young children who go to the circus and girls who flock to the Disney shows. Feld expects the Marvel shows to appeal to older boys, comic book fans and family audiences.

Marvel's chief creative officer, Joe Quesada, said dozens of people have approached Marvel about doing a live show of some sort over the years. The partnership with Feld Entertainment was the first with which he felt comfortable.

"You always have those questions — how are you going to keep it from being goofy, or silly, or unbelievable?" Quesada said. But the level of showmanship in Feld Entertainment's other shows made an impression.

"They're already doing feats that are superhuman to begin with," Quesada said of the performers that Feld Entertainment recruits for its circus and other shows.

Feld said his company's long-standing partnership with Burbank, Calif.-based The Walt Disney Co., which acquired Marvel in 2009, helped establish a level of trust between Feld and the Marvel executives.

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