Marvel heroes fly into action at the Golden 1 Center

Mark Ferrando plays Electro in Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes. He graduated from U.C. Davis in 2011.
Mark Ferrando plays Electro in Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes. He graduated from U.C. Davis in 2011. Feld Entertainment

When Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes hits Sacramento next week, it won’t just bring heroes with it – it also will be a homecoming of sorts for one of the performers.

Mark Ferrando – who plays the villain Electro in the show – graduated from UC Davis in 2011 with a B.A. in dramatic arts and a minor in managerial economics. The Brentwood native is part of both the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble and UC Davis Club Gymnastics.

“At UC Davis I was able to talk to my teachers, the grad students and all of my peers to kind of get a grasp of what it is to be a professional performer,” said Ferrando, during a recent phone interview from San Diego.

Since his Davis days, Ferrando has relocated to New York , worked with the Metropolitan Opera and will also be in a feature film – “The Greatest Showman,” which stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya – coming out later this year.

Age of Heroes promises nonstop action – with motorcycles, pyrotechnics, aerial work, and yes, even flying superheroes and villains, including Ferrando. There’s even fire. The Fire Temple scene also features fire manipulation.

His circus, dance and theater experience helped him prepare for the role, he said.

“... It has kind of culminated and is used in this show,” said Ferrando, who also is an understudy for Spider-Man and The Hulk.

Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes will be at the Golden 1 Center from Sept. 14 to Sept. 17.

The plot behind the brand new storyline pits Spider-Man, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Doctor Strange against villains Nebula, Loki and the Green Goblin. The heroes must find the Wand of Watoomb before Loki – evil half-brother of Thor – gets it in his clutches. The ancient wand possesses mystical powers that would allow Loki to rule his home planet of Asgard and Earth.

This is the first time that Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot and Drax appear in a live-show setting. Other characters including Black Panther, Black Widow, Wasp, Iron Fist and the Green Goblin also make appearances.

The show spans Marvel’s universe both past and current, Ferrando said.

“Marvel’s kind of a new thing for me, which is really exciting, because I start to learn like why these characters are so dear to people’s hearts,” he said.

His favorite part of the show is set on Yondu’s ship, when Nebula arrives to take the Wand of Watoomb. But, then the lights reveal Chitauri.

“I think what that does, for us as the viewer, is start to show just how epic this event, the show is going to be,” Ferrando says.

And while Marvel is being adapted into many mediums, Ferrando thinks that the show is “most true to the comics.”

“In movies, one has to be extremely subtle in order to portray to the camera,” Ferrando said. “And they have, and everything’s kind of done through special effects. And here, everything is live ... we’re in an arena which is a huge space, so we’re able to really live through the grandeur of the comics. Comics are like ‘Pow’ ‘bang’ ... and we’re able to do that in the arena and then to be true and honest and really tell the story.”

After Sacramento, Marvel Universe Live! heads to Portland, Ore., and currently has other dates booked across the country into 2019, including Salt Lake City, Tampa, Fla., Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

“There are so many surprises every night, just expect the best,” said Ferrando.

Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes

Where: Golden 1 Center, 500 Davis J Stern Walk.

When: Thursday, Sept. 14-Sunday, Sept. 17

Time: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $15- $105. (Discount kids tickets are available for some shows.)

Info: marveluniverselive.com