Well, it has actually happened. We’ve been covering the Spider-Man musical story since it was first whispered, 5 or 6 years ago, and last year, at the Foxwoods Theatre in Manhattan, the very first public performance of the musical, directed by theater great Julie Taymor, with music by Bono and the Edge, of well known rock band, U2. Some thought this day would never come.
And to persuade theater-goers that it really was happening, show organizers put on a full court press for the press in recent days, with a
profile in the New York Times capturing the camaraderie of the lovable misfits putting the show together:
Bono observed: “The scope of this thing is just hard to grasp sometimes. It just doesn’t fit into the normal —— “
“Broadway mishegoss,” Ms. Taymor said.
“Right,” Bono said. “And trying to blend comic books — which is a very American contribution to the world of mythology — and rock music and Broadway into this thing of art that we don’t even have a word for.”
and just last night, a story on 60 Minutes that was some 18 months in the making as the show got delayed more and moreThe story can be viewed in the above link and it lays out the pros and cons pretty succinctly:
• well known creative team
• most daring Broadway staging ever, on the scale of Le Cirque du Soleil in terms of people swinging around on cables.
• Hey, look out, there’s goes the Spider-Man!
• Most expensive musical by far in Broadway history
• Show must sell out every night for years before coming close to breaking even
• Stunts far from figured out, flinging performers across the stage and breaking bones
But tickets are on sale!
And how did last night’s first ever preview performance go? Uh, there were…problems.
Last night’s opening preview of Broadway’s most expensive production ever, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” was an epic flop as the $65 million show’s high-tech gadgetry went completely awry amid a dull score and baffling script, theatergoers griped.
Stunned audience members were left scratching their heads over the confusing plot — when they weren’t ducking for cover from falling equipment and dangling actors at the Foxwoods Theatre on West 42nd Street, some said.
At various points, overhead stage wires dropped on the audience, scenery appeared on stage missing pieces — and the show’s star was even left swaying helplessly over them midair during what was supposed to be the climatic end to the first act.
The Times has an ever-so-slightly more sympathetic view of the proceedings:
When Sunday’s performance did stop, the audience was warmly charitable for the most part. At one point in Act I, Mr. White asked for a round of applause for the actress Natalie Mendoza (who played the villainess Arachne) as she hung in mid-air during a six-minute pause. Later in the act, the actor Patrick Page (as the Green Goblin) improvised a bit by repeating some of the lyrics from his song “I’ll Take Manhattan.”
But it still sounds like one of the most legendary nights of theater disaster in history.
Which is a shame, because the parts of the show that have been seen are quite spectacular, and if they ever figure out how to actually do it, people would be thrilled.
What would be a thrill right now is for a performance to actually run through without someone getting hurled or stopping in mid-air.
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.