Batman Live

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Batman Live.JPG

Bruce Wayne: "I am Batman."
Dick Grayson: "What?"
Bruce Wayne: "I... am... Batman."


Batman Live is a 2011 arena show written by Stan Berkowitz and Alan Burnett. The play tells the story of Bruce Wayne meeting and teaming up with Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Robin, for the first time. It's an elaborate and highly detailed stage production, featuring circus acts, hand-drawn animation and Wire Fu. And some serious Nightmare Fuel once Scarecrow shows up.

When Bruce Wayne spends an evening at the Haly Circus with commissioner Gordon, they're introduced to The Flying Graysons, who turn out to be the victims of a protection racket by Tony Zucco. When the Graysons are murdered during their trapeze act, their son Dick ignores commissioner Gordon's orders to hide in Wayne Manor, and goes after Zucco with the intent of murdering the gangster. As it turns out, Zucco is working for the Joker -- but by the time Batman figures that out (from the twisted grin on Zucco's corpse) he's set off the alarms of every supervillain in town. Knowing that they won't stand a chance against Batman alone, the Riddler proposes a supervillain team-up to kill Batman once and for all. Catwoman, Two-Face and the Penguin reluctantly agree.

Meanwhile, Harley Quinn and The Joker take over Haly Circus, murder its cast and capture Dick. When Batman comes to free his ward, the Joker flees, and Harley is shipped off to Arkham Asylum kicking and screaming. Impressed with Dick's perseverance and acrobatics, Bruce tells Dick about the murder of his own parents, the inspiration he found in the film Zorro, and how he wants to devote his life to fighting evil. He decides to let Dick in on his secret: he is the Batman, and he intends to teach Dick how to make villains pay without resorting to murder.

Meanwhile, the Joker breaks into Arkham Asylum and takes over the building. Batman decides to pursue his archenemy, and with the help of Alfred, Dick secretly tags along. Batman has to face his enemies in the centre of madness. And waiting for the Caped Crusader in Arkham are Dr. Jonathan Crane and Dr. Pamela Isley, who'd like a word with him... luckily for Batman, his long-time nemesis Catwoman is starting to have some serious doubts about her teammates and the side of the law she's on.

The play is well-loved by Batman fans for staying close to the Batman canon, and for including very detailed factoids on the franchise's gadgets and villains -- as well as the sleekest Batmobile seen yet.

Tropes used in Batman Live include:
  • Bat Signal
  • Bedlam House: Once Batman arrives at Arkham to take down The Joker, he finds that all of the inmates have been mummified, chained and hung from the ceiling. Then Scarecrow comes to catch him...
  • The Cast Showoff: Almost all of the actors are acrobats.
  • Circus of Fear: All over the play. At one point, the Joker comes out of a giant machine shaped like his own head, with the teeth, eyes and hair made of writhing people.
  • Dating Catwoman
  • Doing It for the Art: The show very lovingly includes much more text and graphics on the screen than anyone could possibly read during the show, all of which corresponds to canon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Catwoman and, of course, Alfred.
  • The Faceless: Scarecrow. He's a giant walking nightmare on stilts, made of stitched-together burlap and sticks, with long twitching claws and no visible face.
  • Heel Face Turn: Catwoman decides to help out Batman in the final battle and kisses him in the show's finale, hinting that she's going to seriously reconsider being a criminal.
  • Mad Love: Harley and The Joker.
  • Monster Clown: Guess who.
  • Official Couple: The Joker and Harley Quinn. They still try to murder each other a few times.
  • Shout-Out: Many. Bruce is dating Vicki Vale, Arkham's atmosphere is remarkably close to Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, and the score is one big shout-out to Danny Elfman's music.
  • Wire Fu