A newly family-friendly and sense-making version of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark opens on Broadway tomorrow, and its faithful Boswell, Patrick Healy, has the new storyline for the creators. The new version of the show, as rejiggered by director Philip William McKinley and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa includes MORE Green Goblin, MORE Mary Jane, Uncle Ben and Aunt May, FIVE MORE flying sequences, MORE songs, and LESS Arachne.
The experience seems to have been an unusually humbling one for the normally egotistic Bono, who co-wrote the songs and shared the blame when it went far off the rails.
“What was not right about it was a catalog of commonplace problems — story knots, bad sound and finally a failure to cohere, meaning that the whole was not greater than the sum of the parts, as wonderful as some of those parts were,” he emailed Healy. “In ‘Turn Off the Dark’ 2.0, the myth of Arachne does not overpower the reason people are there to discover what makes Peter Parker a superhero, which in the end turns out not to be his spider senses, but his personal integrity and especially his humility — something I hope all of us in this process have learned from.”
That’s about as close to an “I was wrong” as you’re likely to set from the international superstar, so enjoy.
With the show shorn of all the psychodrama about female creativity, the producers hope that it will actually appeal to theatergoers as a Broadway show and not as a train wreck.
Mr. McKinley, a theater and circus director whom the producers hired to replace Ms. Taymor, said in an interview that he had been struck by survey research — which big-budget Broadway musicals sometimes undertake — indicating that the musical held “enormous potential appeal” for people of all ages.
“Our motivation for doing ‘Spider-Man’ 2.0 is its potential for becoming a real family event,” said Mr. McKinley.
It’s a sad state when creators of this calibre have to listen to a focus group to tell them what’s working and what isn’t, but hubris will do that to ya. The original Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was crazy and inspired and unforgettable, but ultimately a failure. The new one will probably be much more ordinary…and more successful.
The new opening date for the Spider-Man musical is June 14.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.