Photos courtesy of Feld Entertainment
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ALBANY — On the street, Marvel Live! actor Joshua Davidson stands at about 5 feet 10 inches tall, but when he’s on stage he’s larger than life.
Seriously. He’s the Hulk. And, in a production that features more than 20 of Marvel Comics superheroes and villains, it’s safe to say Davidson grabs the audience’s attention when he steps forward. It’s a scenario that will play out at the Times Union Center when Marvel Universe Live performs Thursday to Sunday, Oct. 4 to 7.
In this latest Feld Entertainment production, the Spider-Man and The Avengers are joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax, in a legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. Called on by Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy join Marvel Universe LIVE! on a momentous crusade against the scheming Nebula who teams up with the conniving and loathsome villains Loki and Green Goblin. The incredible superhuman forces of Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk and Black Widow will unite in clashes that pit student against mentor, sister against sister and brother against brother.
The Hulk is a creation adapted by Stan Lee from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Dr. Bruce Banner is to Dr. Henry Jekyll, as the Hulk is to Mr. Hyde. In the curious case of the Hulk, Banner transforms into a man with both immense size and strength whenever he becomes angry or distressed.
Davidson said he goes through an equally “drastic” change each day to become the Hulk, but after almost two years on tour, the suit has become just another “part of my body.” His suit has gone through a few changes since he first wore it two years ago. That first suit was nearly 175 pounds. Davidson weighs just as much. The present suit is designed for agility, allowing him to climb stairs and battle with other characters.
The Hulk has been a beloved character since he was introduced to the Marvel Comic universe in 1962. Fans of all ages are drawn to the famously split character for a multitude of reasons. Children are attracted to the size and presence of the Hulk, while parents may connect with the struggle to temper emotions. Davidson believes there’s more to the Hulk than his brawn.
“I think it is an interesting methodology,” said Davidson. “The character is a dichotomy of what the ego and the id portray. I think in society we forget to talk about when we release the beast. The Hulk, in order for him to save lives, he has to release the beast.”
Davidson’s exo-suit is just one of many examples of the advanced technology used within this production. Live performers will be accompanied by an immersive video projection and cutting-edge special effects to transport audiences across the universe from the fantastical Savage Land to New York City and beyond. Spider-Man and Wasp’s dynamic aerial stunts along with Captain America’s daring motorcycle skills will be on display in the ultimate race against time to save mankind.
“I’m extremely excited to work on Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes and bring the talents and powers of these amazing characters with such dimensionality to life,” said Marvel’s chief creative officer, Joe Quesada. “Audiences will be on the edge of their seats as they witness the outrageous stunts and fight sequences in truly a unique experience that puts fans at the center of the action.”
Thursday, October 4 7 p.m.
Friday, October 5 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 6 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 7 noon, 4 p.m.
Tickets available online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at the Times Union Center Box Office.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.