Updated: 08/28/2012 11:46 PM KSTP.com By: Sarina Long
Photo courtesy, Batman Live
"Batman Live" is a unique, action-packed production with 42 cast members, elaborate sets, pyrotechnics and a huge 105-foot bat-shaped LED video wall.
It kicks off a North American tour at the Honda Center in Anaheim on September 5-9.
The show, produced by Nick Grace of Water Lane Productions, debuted in the United Kingdom last year and has been a hit in Europe and Latin America.
Batman Live visits the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for eight shows September 13-16.
I had a chance to talk to the caped crusader himself. Sam Heughan plays Bruce Wayne/Batman, and answered our questions with his own answers as well as those he thinks the Dark Knight would give.
Sarina: What can comic book fans of all ages expect during Batman Live?
Batman: When you enter the arena, you are immersed in Gotham City and you become part of it. You will see your favorite characters right in front of you. It's spectacular! Between the amazing LED video screen which feels like a big comic book turning its pages. Come and enjoy yourselves and support Batman.
Batman Live is neither a musical nor some ice-skating Gotham escapade. The scripted adventure pits Batman and Robin against popular villains such as the Joker, Catwoman, the Riddler, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn and the Penguin, and the settings take audiences to the high-tech confines of the Batcave, the dark depths of brutal Arkham Asylum and the Penguin’s chilly Iceberg Lounge.
Sarina: Tell me about the concept. What makes this show so unique?
Batman: Apart from being a live show, the fact that this show was specifically designed for a live audience is what makes it so unique. The show is ever-changing. There's a real buzz in the arena when there's about 20,000 people, but it's not just an action show, it's got a really great story too. Plus, you get to see your favorite villains in action.
Written by Allan Heinberg who writes DC Comics, it's the story of Batman and Robin who meet in Gracin at the start of the play and by the end we find out where Robin comes from. The two learn to work together and overcome their fears. That's really cool! The story of Batman involves so much history. There are so many different genres and different sides to Bruce Wayne and Batman, the shows, the comics, and this is yet another extension of it that is long overdue.
Sarina: What is your favorite scene?
Batman: There are so many great moments. Our writer, Allan Heinberg is extremely creative. Without giving away too much of the plot, I love that moment where I fly in, soaring almost 100-feet across the arena, above the audience. Seeing the fans' faces, especially the kids is incredible.
Sarina: What is it like driving the Batmobile?
Batman: I'm a huge Formula One race fan and driving the Batmobile is very exciting. It's designed by Professor Gordon Murray who designed the McLaren F1 race car, so it's a really cool car. It's got a lot of tricks throughout the show. Really great moment on stage.
Sarina: How much training is involved to prepare for the show?
Batman: Several months of boxing. There are backups that learn all of the moves as well.
Sarina: Most challenging scene?
Batman: It's a live show that can get really crazy in just a moment. We've got pyrotechnics, illusions, acrobatics, about 50 people on the stage sometimes at one time. It's very technical, there's flying things. Things can go wrong, but that's the excitement and joy of a live show vs. a taped show or movie where they can edit things along the way.
Sarina: I reached out to Chris Kluwe, who fans around here know better as the Minnesota Vikings punter, and he offered this question via Twitter:
"Why don't you just kill off all the criminals and make your life a lot easier? It's obvious they are all unrepentant."
Batman: (Laughs) Batman is not about revenge, he's about justice. Bruce Wayne lost his parents and had to learn the hard way. The Dark Knight does stand for something, he's a character that is quite terrifying at times but he stands for good and justice.
Sarina: Did the tragedy surrounding the Dark Knight Rises opening in Colorado affect any scenes in Batman Live?
Batman: I really don't want to comment on that but I do want fans to know they will all love our show, common themes of good vs. evil. We hope our fans will come and celebrate with us and not fear the unfortunate circumstances with the opening of Dark Knight Rises. Fans will not be disappointed.