Home Entertainment The Stage Dan Slott's review of the revamped Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Dan Slott's review of the revamped Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN writer Dan Slott attended the premiere of the NEW, revised, less Arachne Spider-Man musical last night, and he tweeted his review!

Yep! I just came back from the ALL-NEW ver of @SpideyOnBway… and, WALOPING WEB-SNAPPERS, it IS new and IMPROVED! WOO-HOO! You know who’s the hero who saved Spidey? Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, that’s who!!! Roberto’s new book and lyrics for @SpideyOnBway are FUN! :-) Now, when Spidey fights during TURN OFF THE DARK, he QUIPS!!! He didn’t B4, and now that he does: it’s SPIDEY again! YAY! @SpideyOnBway

1 thing that HASN’T changed (and I’ve seen both versions) the cast remains EXCELLENT! :) And in this NEW ver they shine MORE! @SpideyOnBway Now, during TURN OFF, Uncle Ben is NOT killed by being run over by a car! The lesson here: Want something fixed? Use a comic book writer! :) In TURN OFF THE DARK, know what Peter says after Uncle Ben dies? “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!” He DIDN’T B4! They FIXED IT! Tonights show: No stopping. Not even once. All good, all the way through! :) And all the stunts and ADDED flying sequences were AWESOME!

Cutest moment: Tonight’s TURN OFF THE DARK ended on a standing ovation from the ENTIRE audience! And when the curtain went down, you could hear the cast members let out their own hoots and cheers– because they KNEW they nailed it! They now have a FUN hit! #TheyFixedIt!!!!

Is there still silly stuff in TURN OFF THE DARK? Swarm? Giant baby? Rubber wrestler? Sure. But the show is now infused w/ so much FUN! :-) Something I REALLY loved about the new-and-improved TURN OFF THE DARK: expanded roles for Aunt May, Jonah, MJ, and even more for Flash. :-)

As you may recall, if you have not been living in a cave with no Internet access, the Spider-Man musical has been plagued with problems for the last seven years or so, starting with the original producer dropping dead just as he was signing a contract for the show, moving right on to destroying Julie Taymor’s career, and making Bono contemplate the meaning of humility. Aguirre-Sacasa and director Philip William McKinley have restaged the original, puzzling production, and if the Slott Report is to be believed,

People are standing up and cheering for Spidey on Broadway!

  1. My friend David Mattingly said that the main problem with the Taymor version was incomprehensibility; songs and dialogue didn’t explain why things were happening. Basic storytelling flaws hadn’t been fixed.

    If this review isn’t facetious (a standing ovation, really?), then good on them.

    The producer dropped dead signing contracts?! Hard to believe. But apparently true. Talk about bad omens.

  2. ” … The lesson here: Want something fixed? Use a comic book writer! :) …”

    I’ve been saying this for quite a while. And the sad part if that most people will continue to ignore this advice, since they want someone more “talented” than a comic book writer.

  3. “Uncle Ben was originally hit by a car?! That’s completely stupid.”

    Not really. If it happened in Queens (the Parkers lived in Forest Hills) while UB was crossing the street @Queens Blvd, its highly plausible! They don’t call it “The Boulevard of Death” for nothing! :-P

    “With great power comes great responsibility…in learning how to cross the street!” LOL

  4. ‘course this is a review from a Marvel employee currently writing Spider Man. I might wait for the Times or the Post to weign in before dropping a few 100 dollars.

  5. Snikit Snakt.
    I don’t think Cammy meant that people don’t get hit by cars, I think Cammy meant that it doesn’t create much dramatic irony or explore ideas about power/responsibilty and give a plausible motivation for Peter Parker to become a crime-fighter.

  6. Just to be clear, the car that strikes Uncle Ben in the Taymor version was DRIVEN by the thief that Peter Parker had failed to stop earlier. So he had the same revelation, albeit without his great catch phrase. I think the reason the car was put in was because they had a cool special effect of a car coming at you and striking down Ben.

  7. I can understand the standing ovation. Without taking anything away from the quality of the performances or the show, I’m sure it was primarily to acknowledge the hard work that went into revamping it and to send the message that the show is back on track–kind of a collective sigh of relief that the show has indeed been salvaged.

  8. The car headlights pop up was one of the earliest images I had to draw that was not part of the pre-viz stage. Haven’t been able to see the show yet, so kinda wish I had seen Julie’s version to compare the two now.

  9. I find this hard to believe. Sorry. Has anyone not affiliated with any incarnation of Spider-Man seen this yet? Is the score something we only wish Julie Andrews magically got her voice back for?

  10. About the car running over Uncle Ben: Not only was it driven by the thief that Peter failed to stop earlier, but that thief was stealing Flash Thompson’s car, which made Peter’s unwillingness to stop him understandable. But then Uncle Ben ran out to stop the thief and got run over.

    The real problem of the sequence (aside from nobody making clear the “great responsibility” lesson) is that it all happened in, like, 45 seconds. This is THE key dramatic moment in Spider-Man’s origin — more important, really, than getting bit by the spider — but Taymor completely rushed it. How does a seasoned theater director f*ck that up? Yet she did! The action was very unclear; I even heard a 9- or 10-year-old kid, who was sitting two rows in front of me, ask his mom what had just happened.

    Very happy to hear Roberto A-S (along with the rest of the artistic crew and the cast) is rescuing the show.

  11. I just got back from seeing the revamped version and it’s good, but not great. The first half is unbelievably boring. It’s just the first Raimi movie, but on stage. The sad thing though is there is no thief who held up the wrestling promoter, the story just has Peter going home to find out Ben was shot. The second half is where things get awesome. The design of all the Sinister Six, including Swarm, are awesome. The arial stunts are *amazing*!! Every time Spidey swings around, the audience just gasps in awe.

    The best parts are the art direction – everything looked incredible – and the stunts. The worst were all the boring talking parts in the first half – I’ve seen the Raimi movie, why am I seeing it on stage? Everything else is a solid B – good, but not great.

    The art direction made and the stunts made it worth the money for me, but if neither are your thing, stay home, I guess.

  12. “The first half is unbelievably boring. It’s just the first Raimi movie, but on stage.”

    I think you could arguably say (and a few comic-friends of mine have said it) that’s the problem with most comic-based movies, tv, whatever. Everyone feels the need to rehash an origin story … I thought the highlight of the first Michael Keaton BATMAN film was that his origin was summarized in (more or less) sixty seconds.

    Peter Parker, a kid photographer with miraculous powers fights crime … wow-wee! At some point, he can explain how he came to be a crimefighter, and explain it quick for the benefit of all the people who saw the Raimi film …

  13. “How surprising that a Marvel employee tweeted that he really liked it. I mean what are the odds of that?”

    I’ll take his word for it.

  14. @rich

    Yeah, you could say that and I’d agree. Most of these adaptations are the millionth retelling of an origin we already know. But with the Spider-Man Broadway play, it’s literally the Sam Raimi movie on stage. There’s nothing new in the first half other than the cool art design. I would vastly prefer the original’s attempts at doing new things than seeing the movie acted out on stage.

  15. I just saw Spidey 2.0 and really enjoyed it and I don’t work for Marvel. They made the story more comprehensible, the art direction is cool, the actors are talented, and the flying is great. No, it’s not a Sondheim musical, but it’s very entertaining.

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