Arena show 'Batman Live' delves into origins of Batman's sidekick

Allan Heinberg, who grew up in Tulsa, wrote “Batman Live,” a theatrical story of Robin joining Batman's world. It will be performed next weekend at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
by Matthew Price Modified: October 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm •  Published: October 4, 2012

“Batman Live” will showcase the origin of Robin in a theatrical setting next week at Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno Ave.

The show, which will have eight performances from Wednesday through Oct. 14, features stunts, pyrotechnics, illusions and video screen sequences set in a three-dimensional Gotham City landscape.

The show is written by Allan Heinberg, who grew up in Tulsa before becoming a writer and producer on TV shows including, “The O.C.” and “Grey's Anatomy.” He's written for the two biggest comic publishers, Marvel and DC Comics, and his relationship with DC Entertainment led him to “Batman Live.”

Heinberg, who had collaborated with DC Entertainment's chief creative officer Geoff Johns on the “Justice League of America” comic book, was asked to give feedback on the “Batman Live” project.

“We started riffing on ideas, and that quickly became him asking me to sit down with the director and producer of ‘Batman Live' to discuss some of those ideas,” Heinberg said. “And out of that meeting ... I very quickly ended up writing an entirely new script for ‘Batman Live.'”

The show uses Dick Grayson, the young acrobat who becomes Robin, as the point-of-view character for the audience.

“‘Batman Live' is a show for families. It's a show for adults to bring their kids in,” Heinberg said. “It's designed so that everybody in the family can find it accessible and can be entertained by it.

“So the Dick Grayson character is a great point-of-entry character into the Batman universe. He's a kid himself, so kids identify, hopefully identify with Dick Grayson. And if you don't know anything about the Batman universe, having this young character who enters into the Batman universe for the first time gives you a really nice way in.”

The fact that Robin's origin as Dick Grayson has him starting as a young performer at a circus makes it especially appropriate for an arena-venue version of a Batman story.

“The Dick Grayson story was actually perfect in terms of theatricalizing the Batman story,” Heinberg said. “Especially in an arena, because so much of the Dick Grayson story takes place at the circus. In trying to tell a very theatrical Batman story in a space that's as large as an arena, it's just a natural fit.”

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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