The show is set for the Thomas & Mack Center from Oct. 3-7. Tickets start at $29.50 and are on sale Friday at the UNLV Box Office, by calling 702-739-3267 (FANS) or at UNLVTickets.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the concierge station at Town Square. Show dates and times are Oct. 3-5 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 6 at noon, 4 and 8 p.m.; and Oct. 7 at 1 and 5 p.m.
The show is a fully authorized production from Warner Brothers Consumer Products, DC Entertainment and Nick Grace of Water Lane Productions, whose credits include the international tour of “Mamma Mia!” and the touring production “Walking With Dinosaurs.”
The all-ages, arena-scope blowout features a 3D depiction of Gotham City laden with ominous, darkened buildings; a 105-foot, bat-shaped video screen; and an all-new Batmobile designed for the production.
Forty-two acrobats vault around the enormous set. Pyrotechnics and video illusions burst onstage. Along with the show’s central characters -- Bruce Wayne as Batman and Dick Grayson as Robin -- Alfred Pennyworth (or, Alfred the Butler), the Joker, Catwoman, the Riddler, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and the Penguin appear. The unnerving qualities of Gotham City are well represented, as are Wayne Manor, the Batcave and Arkham Asylum.
The man who penned the script for the show says the storyline is a faithful adaptation of the tale of how millionaire Wayne found a kindred spirit in young circus performer Grayson, forging a heroic alliance for the ages.
“He’s been Batman for about a year, and he meets a young circus performer whose parents are gunned down right before his eyes," Allan Heinberg said in a phone interview Friday. “He is forced into being this kid’s guardian, to avenge the kid’s death on his own to make Gotham City a safer place. The story is all about this relationship, learning about themselves, learning that they need to lean on each other because they cannot do it alone.”
Heinberg says such linear storytelling is what sets “Batman Live” apart from productions from Las Vegas’ predominant performance company -- and you had to feel this comparison coming -- Cirque du Soleil.
“Cirque is notoriously nonlinear and non-narrative,” says Heinberg, who has been a writer and producer on TV series like “The Naked Truth,” “Party of Five,” “Sex and the City,” “Gilmore Girls, “The O.C.” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” He has spent the past seven years writing comics, including “Young Avengers” for Marvel Comics. He says “Batman Live" is distinctive even for those who have seen all variety of production shows in Las Vegas, including those staged by Cirque.
“What Cirque brings is its spectacle and magic, and we have aimed to have that degree of spectacle and magic,” Heinberg said. “But ours is a very linear and very narrative drama. It’s much more like a traditional play, story-wise. I don’t know the comparisons with Cirque would be that immediate.”
Heinberg calls the experience of writing for this level of production “extraordinary.”
“It has been extraordinary to try to create something that’s very faithful to the source material but has not been done in live-action form, onstage, before,” he said. “In the process of translating it to the stage, we felt we were inventing a new kind of performance art. It’s not quite theater, not quite circus. It has all the spectacle of a rock show and a musical, but it’s not sung. It’s really its own unique, theatrical form, an arena spectacular.
“It’s narrative, emotional arc of a play, but it is larger than life on every level.”
Everything about the production is outsized. The load-in convoy is 20 tractor-trailers. The crew needs two days to assemble the stage. It took 100 hours just to sculpt the body for Batman’s costume, and there are more than 490 costume elements onstage.
The soundscape, which Heinberg says he listens to often just for pleasure, was recorded by a 92-piece orchestra under the direction of English composer James Seymour Brett. In collaboration with acclaimed composer Michael Kamen, Brett also co-wrote the music for the epic Steven Spielberg miniseries “Band of Brothers” and the film “X-Men,” among other major projects.
More than half a million people have seen “Batman Live” worldwide since 2010. Reviews have been laudatory. A sampling from the London Daily Telegraph calls the show, “A live-action drama stuffed with dazzling special effects, retina-popping visuals and improbable feats of highwire derring-do, choreographed within a Catwoman’s whisker of perfection.”