From the pommel horse to pummeling villains

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Joshua Davidson currently may be playing the role of Doc Green, a.k.a. The Incredible Hulk before children and adults.

But long before audiences spied him on the arena floor for “Marvel Universe Live!” Davidson stood in the spotlight as a competitive men’s gymnast.

“Marvel Universe Live!” comes to Bridgeport from March 1 to 3.

Davidson, calling as he drove from his home in Asheville, N.C. to Birmingham, Ala. for the next stop of “Marvel Universe Live!” explained he jumped into the sport of gymnastics at just 18-months-old. Born with ADHD, Davidson said he was extremely active from a young age. His parents were looking for a way to redirect his energies into something productive.

Davidson said he trained for a few years  near his then-home in New Jersey before his family moved to Dayton, Ohio so he could take his gymnastics skills to the next level. A large part of his adolescence – through high school and unto college – found Davidson in the role of competitive gymnast. He had a chance to put his talent to work in the Junior Olympics, where he achieved level 10 status. He also had a chance to attend the Olympics Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He reached Elite status as a gymnast in college.

“It was a truly wonderful ride,” said Davidson of his gymnastics career.

Eventually, Davidson enrolled in nursing school. This is where Davidson’s professional life took another turn.

He decided to enroll in stunt school.

Davidson said as he trained to be a nurse, he still wasn’t sure if that path was one he wanted to take.

A friend of his recommended that he might want to try stunt school. So, Davidson said, he did that, enrolling in a program in Seattle.

Davidson said the training opened his eyes up to all of the opportunities that were open to him as a stunt person. Stunt work could include motorcycle stunts, wire work, and fight choreography. “There are so many aspects of what shape a stunt career would like.”

Both his gymnastics training and his stunt skills have helped Davidson in his role as the Incredible Hulk.

As the Hulk, Davidson has to wear a “hulking” costume that extends beyond his body. His gymnastics training helps Davidson move as the costume as if it was really his own flesh. It has provided him with the whole body strength necessary to be mobile. Additionally, he said his stunt work helps as he moves on stilts to give the Hulk his superhero height.

In his press bio materials, Davidson said his favorite Marvel character is Hawkeye. But he said each character that is part of “Marvel Universe Live!” has admirable qualities. Of Hulk, Davidson said he likes how his character represents releasing the beast, the primal urge that lurks in everyone… but that not everyone gets to show.

The “Marvel Universe Live!” coming to Bridgeport represents a new story for the traveling entertainment franchise, said Davidson. In this story, he said, the villain Loki is trying to secure ultimate power. However, Hulk, as well as Spiderman, the Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy stand in Loki’s way. In addition to the heroes and Loki, the cast of villains include Black Cat, Electro, Lizard, and more.

When he meets his young fans as Hulk, Davidson said he often sees the awe and wonderment in their eyes. He said he is heartened each time he steps out into the arena and the fans roar “Hulk! Hulk”

“There’s nothing better than hearing your character’s name,” said Davidson.

Davidson said “Marvel Universe Live!” is a show for everyone. “So many different people can relate,” said Davidson

“It’s a show for the comic book fan as well as families,” said Davidson. For the comic book fans, they will enjoy the pyrotechnics, motorcycle stunts, and high falls. [“There are so many great stunts.”] And the kids get to see their favorite comic book characters.”

“Marvel Universe Live!” will be performing at the Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main St., Bridgeport on Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 3 at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or by visiting the Webster Bank Arena box office.

Joshua Davidson plays the Incredible Hulk in ‘Marvel Universe Live!’ which comes to Bridgeport March 1 to 3.