Not unexpectedly, the official opening of the Spider-Man musical has been delayed again; the new opening date is February 7th. The New York Times delves into the story: Originally slated to open in February 2010, and then pushed back to January 11, 2011 after delays, injuries and financial problems, this time the musical needs an ending number:
Reflecting the view of some audience members who have criticized the show on blogs, Twitter and Facebook, Ms. Taymor and the producers have concluded that Act II has storytelling problems that need to be fixed. While Act I is a familiar rendition of Peter Parker turning into Spider-Man, Act II is largely the invention of Ms. Taymor and Bono, and includes some major reversals that can be hard to understand in the fast-moving show.
Bono and the Edge have been on tour with U2 in New Zealand and Australia since Thanksgiving; they have yet to see a performance of the musical, which they began working on nine years ago. They will be returning to New York before Christmas and are expected to become regular presences at the Foxwoods Theater through mid-to-late January, when they have to prepare for February concerts in South Africa. Bono and the Edge are not believed to be at work on any new numbers for the show, but the two people said that they might write some once they assess the show and huddle with Ms. Taymor.
Most technical problems in the show — which saw one actress suffer a concussion after being bonked on the head with a prop, and others hurtled through the air to land with bone-breaking force — have since been ironed out, although a new ending battle would need more rehearsal time.
In the Times piece, a commenter has another review and points out that the cast is suffering from a bit of PTSD:
It was obvious to us, though, where larger problems HAD existed prior to that night: a tentative-to-scared cast could not withhold knee-jerk reactions from hesitation to wincing as they visibly anticipated the next delay, sprain or misfire to which they’d become accustomed.
At the risk of being seen as a booster, these kind of work-in-progress changes during reviews are pretty much the Broadway standard; bringing in composers to tweak the score is also SOP. None of that spells disaster.
What is making Spider-Man’s woes more than the usual, of course, is that the composers are the world’s most successful musicians; the director is a titan in the fields; and the costs involved are vaster than any encountered before.
Broadway could use a hit after many shows thought to be stalwarts ended too soon. Despite all the problems, Spider-Man previews are running at 95 percent capacity — only five years more of that and the show will make some money.
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.