It wouldn’t have been appropriate to hold a New York Comic Con this year without acknowledging the 50th birthday of Marvel’s flagship hero, and there was plenty of merchandise on hand from the con to commemorate it, including a tote bag, t-shirt, and sweatshirt. But Sunday’s birthday celebration was designed to be kid-inclusive while wowing the parents who brought them along. And what’s a party without costumes? All the better that at least half came in Spidey-appropriate gear to hear a live performance by the Broadway musical TURN OFF THE DARK’S Reeve Carney and see some of the choreography from the show. The IGN theatre hosted the event and the tykes trooped in to see the spectacle. Resident Director of the musical, David Ruttura, introduced clips from the show’s production history before Carney gave a strong vocal performance of “Boy Falls from the Sky”, one of the signature pieces from the musical written by Bono and The Edge of U2 fame, complete with three Spider-man back up dancers.
The musical’s Resident Choreographer Jason Snow took to the stage with effusive energy to teach the kids some Spidey-moves from the show and was soon joined by a floor full of enthusiastic young dancers. He walked the kids through the performance in two parts, and at the end of each “rehearsal”, they performed routines from the “Boy Falls from the Sky” sequence along with the music, scanning for villains and undertaking some Spidey punches and kicks. Needless to say, the scene was both safety-conscious and riotous, carefully backing the kids away from stage edges.
Snow was joined by helpers: Spidey dancers in costume to illustrate the moves. Snow’s obvious delight at working with the kids turned the event into a real celebration. “When you get a little older, you’ll have to audition for the show”, he said, praising their efforts. A photo op for parents to capture an image of their kids on stage with Snow and the Spideys brought out an army of iphones, handycams and other devices.
Then everyone settled in for two full episodes of the animated series ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN for DisneyXD. It was a good reminder of Spider-man’s long-running career as the kid who never completely grows up in comics, and also of the future of the character. If the Spidey-loving attendee kids were any indication, Spider-Man is going to continue to be a hero and a role model for a long, long time. Pretty impressive for a 50th birthday party.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.