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Artists Assemble! Marvel, Samuel French Team Up to License Plays

Karen Zacarías, Christian Borle, and Masi Asare have written plays featuring Marvel characters, which will be available to high schools for licensing.

NEW YORK CITY: Marvel Entertainment and theatrical licensing agency Samuel French/Concord Theatricals have launched Marvel Spotlight, a collection of stage plays featuring Marvel characters such as Ms. Marvel and Thor as teenagers.

“Over the last 80 years, the Marvel Universe has grown to inspire billions across the globe by telling relatable, personal stories reflecting the world outside our window,” said Stephen Wacker, Vice President of Creative and Content Development at Marvel Entertainment, in a statement. “With these amazing plays and this uncanny group of talented playwrights, we hope to give the next generation of Marvel fans a chance to bring those stories to life and explore what it means to be a Super Hero right in their own backyard.”

The plays will be available for licensing in educational settings such as high schools. Fees start at $75 per performance. Unlike their more otherworldly adventures in the Marvel comic books and films, these plays will put its superheroes in more Earth-bound situations, so they can be more relatable to young adults.

The first set of plays released for Marvel Spotlight are Mirror of Most Value: A Ms. Marvel Play by Masi Asare, in which Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel learns to accept herself and her imperfections; Squirrel Girl Goes to College: A Squirrel Girl Play by Karen Zacarías, which follows Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl as she attempts to make “normal” human friends at a new school; and Hammered: A Thor & Loki Play by Christian Borle, where teenage Thor and Loki compete for the favor of their parents through Asgardian rites of passage.

Asare is the lyricist for the Broadway-bound musical Monsoon Wedding. Zacarías is the playwright behind a variety of plays such as Destiny of Desire and Native Gardens (she’s also one of the most-produced playwrights this season, according to American Theatre). Borle is a Tony-winning actor who has starred in Falsettos and Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway.

They’re not the first artists who’ve written about superheroes, of course. Geek theatre, featuring sci-fi/fantasy elements, has been a theatrical subgenre since at least the early 2000s. In addition, Marvel also licensed out one of its characters Spider-Man, for the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which ran on Broadway from 2011 to 2014.

“As a lifelong comics fan and theatre maker, in the spirit of Marvel Team-Up, it’s a dream come true for Samuel French/Concord Theatricals to partner with Marvel and bring these accessible, affordable plays to young adults across America,” said Sean Patrick Flahaven, president of Concord Theatricals, in a statement. “We hope this will encourage students across the country to embrace their own traits and abilities.”

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ADV – Billboard