‘Marvel Universe Live’ comes to PPG Paints Arena
Erika Keck’s first work assignment fresh out of stunt school had her doing jumps all day on a Boyce Park snow tubing hill in freezing cold weather and racing through the halls of Butler Memorial Hospital as a stunt double for Diane Keaton and Olivia Wilde in the 2015 movie “Love the Coopers.”
Can being a stunt performer get any cooler than that?
Yes, her current job with Feld Entertainment is way cooler.
Keck, who grew up in Summerville, Jefferson County, and studied communications and digital film at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, is a stunt performer with Feld’s latest action-packed touring stage show, “Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes,” which stops in Pittsburgh for seven performances Oct. 25-28 at PPG Paints Arena.
Race against time
The comic book/action movie come to life features Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk, Black Widow, and other characters from the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy in a race against time to defeat Loki, Nebula, Rhino, Black Cat and other villains to protect the universe from evil.
Keck’s role as a female super swing requires her to learn multiple roles so she can step in for any of the characters as needed.
“It’s definitely a physical job,” says Keck, whose favorite characters to play include Gamora and Black Widow. “All of the characters are strong women who can hold their own and are just as intimidating as the men.”
She says the high-energy show features a lot of fight scenes, with characters performing aerial and motorcycle stunts with special effects, pyrotechnics and video projection mapping used to visually transport the audience around the world and galaxy.
The plot focuses on the superheroes that join forces with Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, to recover the Wand of Watoomb stolen by intergalactic pirates Yondu and The Ravagers. They must get the wand back before Loki captures it and uses its mystical powers to help him achieve his quest to become ruler of Asgard and Earth.
Keck says one of her favorite parts of the show is a Fire Tribe scene, where “we are the fire props and we are the only light on the stage. It’s very cool.”
This is her third year with Feld Entertainment, and she says her family was thrilled when she told them she was joining the show.
“They were so excited for me,” she says. “They have all known that I’ve wanted a job like this.”
Her family plans to attend a performance of “Marvel Universe Live!” in Pittsburgh, including her two sisters, whose careers are in geology and teaching.
“Their jobs are way more relaxed than mine,” she says.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.