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John Drew

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

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lol!

According to MTV, she's a villain created especially for the musical.

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Here's (gulp) a picture of the two villains in the musical, the Green Goblin and Swiss Miss:

spidermanturnoffthedark-large-sfmovies136.jpg

Courtesy MTV

MY EYES! MY EYES!

Seriously, that's just awful.

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This play is like the invasion of Afghanistan*: It may have looked good on paper, but it's a questionable project, so daunting you'd have to be nuts to launch it, and so costly over time that you don't dare give up now.

*Except that thousands haven't been killed, of course.

Edited by Overstreet

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This play is like the invasion of Afghanistan*: It may have looked good on paper, but it's a questionable project, so daunting you'd have to be nuts to launch it, and so costly over time that you don't dare give up now.

*Except that thousands haven't been killed, of course.

The play also isn't a necessary and/or inevitable response to an attack from abroad.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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For the record, my previous post was meant as a joke about the production, not as an invitation to a debate about Afghanistan. Just sayin'.

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Some analogies work better than others. Just sayin'. (Now, if you had mentioned Iraq, instead...)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Big segment on this musical on tonight's edition of 60 Minutes. Dare I say it? While the villain costumes looked horrible in the stills we've seen, they looked exciting in motion. The sets are enormous, and the action looks to be exciting. There was a lot of attention paid to Bono and the Edge, and the music that we heard sounded quite engaging. Who knows? The thing might actually be good...

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‘Spider-Man’ Takes Off, With Some Bumps

By PATRICK HEALY

Published: November 28, 2010

All $65 million of the new Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” took flight on Sunday night at its first preview performance, but not without bumps. The show stopped five times, mostly to fix technical problems, and Act I ended prematurely, with Spider-Man stuck dangling 10 feet above audience members, while Act II was marred by a nasty catcall during one of the midperformance pauses.

Rarely is the very first public run-through of a new musical perfect, and indeed, the creators of this “Spider-Man” — the most expensive and technically ambitious production ever on Broadway — used news media interviews recently to lower expectations that work on the musical was anywhere near done. But after a two-week delay in performances already this month, which sucked up about $4 million, the producers decided that on Sunday night the show would go on.

Costing more than twice as much as the previous record-holder for a big-budget show, “Shrek the Musical,” “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” took a bit of time revealing some of the reasons for its high expense. After beginning at 6:54 p.m. — 24 minutes late, mostly because of 1,900 people taking their seats — the show unfolded for 30 minutes with few of the special effects that have been the talk of Broadway this fall.

At 7:23 p.m., an aerial scene began in Peter Parker’s bedroom to the delight of some audience members — yet it was halted two minutes later with the first of four pauses in Act I, apparently to free the lead actor, Reeve Carney (who plays Peter Parker and is one of those playing Spider-Man), from an aerial harness.

Most of the night’s major flying sequences — which make up a relative fraction of the show — went off without a hitch, with children and some adults squealing in delight. And there were no signs of injuries, which had been a point of concern after two performers were hurt during an aerial sequence this fall.

The fourth and final pause at the end of Act I was the worst glitch of the night by far. Spider-Man had just flown and landed onstage with the musical’s heroine, Mary Jane Watson (played by Jennifer Damiano), in his arms. He was then supposed to zoom off toward the balcony seating area, a few hundred feet away. Instead, a harness and cables lifted Spider-Man several yards up and over the audience, then stopped. A production stage manager, C. Randall White, called for a halt to the show over the sound system, apparently in hopes of fixing and re-doing the stunt.

Crew members, standing on the stage, spent 45 seconds trying to grab Spider-Man by the foot, as the audience laughed and oohed. When they finally caught him, Mr. White announced intermission, and the house lights came on.

The intermission began at 8:19 p.m.; it was still under way 34 minutes later when some in the audience began to clap in unison, as they passed their two-hour mark inside the theater. Mr. White, the production stage manager, then said over the microphone, “I know, guys, I know, I beg your patience,” and the clapping stopped.

Act II began shortly after 9 p.m. and unfolded fairly smoothly until about 50 minutes later, when Mr. White called for a pause. After a few minutes, as some audience members were stretching, a woman in the audience suddenly shouted, “I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today — I feel like it’s a dress rehearsal.” She was met with a chorus of boos. The performance resumed a moment later; the show ended at 10:09 p.m.

The musical has attracted outsized public and media attention by Broadway standards, in large part because of the money and talent involved: U2’s Bono and the Edge signed on to create the show nine years ago, and have written a full-length score, their first for Broadway, and helped recruit as the director Julie Taymor, a Tony Award winner for one of the last musical spectaculars to open on Broadway, “The Lion King.”

The arrival of the first preview — it had originally been scheduled for January, then February, then Nov. 14 — brought out Spidey fans of all ages. Chris McAvey, a 24-year-old “fan of Spider-Man since the age of 5,” wore an old Spider-Man t-shirt that he picked up at a comic-book convention years ago. Asked about his expectations for the night, he noted that he had purchased tickets for one of the previews originally scheduled in February.

“Let me put it this way,” he said, “For the time I’ve had to wait to see this, it better be good!”

After the show, several audience members said in interviews that they would hold off on recommending the show to friends until improvements were made. Sherry Lawrence, a writer for a U2 fan Web site, said that even though she liked some of the songs, she planned to tell readers to wait for the creators to do more work during previews.

But Marc Tumminelli, 30, who runs a Manhattan acting school for children, said he was concerned that the musical’s problems were too fundamental to be corrected quickly. “The story-telling is really unclear and I found it hard to understand exactly what was going on and why certain things were happening,” Mr. Tumminelli said.

More delighted was the 6-year-old boy sitting a row ahead. “Parts of it were really exciting,” said the boy, Jack Soldano, whose parents brought him. “I’ve never seen people flying before.”

Moments before the start of the performance, the lead producer of “Spider-Man,” Michael Cohl, took the stage to prepare the audience for what they were about to see.

“I’m hellishly excited, and I can’t believe we’re actually here and it’s actually going to happen,” said Mr. Cohl, a prominent rock concert promoter who was recruited by Bono in 2009 to take over the show after the previous producers could not raise all of the money for it. Mr. Cohl said he hoped that the night would prove to be “one of the great Broadway and show experiences of your life,” but also warned that the performance might need to stop at points.

Mr. Cohl has approved discounts for some of the tickets sold for preview performances. Many other audience members were still paying $140 or more on Sunday night.

The complexity of “Spider-Man” – particularly its net-free flying sequences over the heads of audience members – has also stoked curiosity, as well as concern, after two actors were injured (one whose wrists were broken) performing aerial stunts this fall. And the show’s growing costs – it will likely cost more than $65 million in the end – has drawn attention given the lavish expense at a time of economic recession, and the difficulty and delays associated with raising money to mount the show.

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.”

“Spider-Man” is scheduled to open on Jan. 11, 2011.

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What a trainwreck.

My thoughts exactly. Maybe they can get 60 Minutes to do a follow-up segment?

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What a trainwreck.

My thoughts exactly. Maybe they can get 60 Minutes to do a follow-up segment?

Epic trainwreck. They should rewrite the book Not Since Carrie just to include this, and retitle it Not Since Spider-Man.

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He's said to have cracked or broken ribs and possible internal bleeding, but word on the BroadwayWorld forums is that he's awake, talking, and in good spirits. Thank God it wasn't worse. I also read that they're putting new safety protocols in place -- hope they're thorough about it!!

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You'd think Spider-Man of all people would perform with a net.

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The woes just keep on coming.

Injured Lead Actress Leaves Broadway's 'Spider-Man'

And if that weren't bad enough, a couple of critics have come out with reviews of the previews, which is kind of a taboo line to cross. The early reports are not too good.

Angry Reaction as Theater Critics Cross the Line on 'Spider-Man'

This past weekend theater insiders were surprised when two critics, Jeremy Gerard of Bloomberg News and Linda Winer of Newsday, crossed an unspoken line and published their takes on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, more than five weeks before opening night on February 7th....

... Her (Winer) piece was less a review than a report, though she did acknowledge that the show’s vaunted flying effects are “exciting and scary, in a circus way,” and that director Julie Taymor was “said to be making much-needed changes to the meandering book, especially in the weak second act.” The rest of the criticism came from audience members Winer interviewed, one of whom complained the music was “weak” and another who said she “didn’t think this is theater for adults.”

... He (Gerard) praised the sets, lighting and choreography, acknowledged the short-lived thrill of some of the flying effects, but came down hard on the show itself: “an unfocused hodge-podge of story-telling, myth-making and spectacle that comes up short in every department. Can it be saved? Ask me on Feb. 8.”

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Fixed.

(For some reason, I am having trouble posting image links on A&F. When I do, all I see is a link, not an image.)

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A friend of mine saw this this over the holidays with his son. Pretty much what you'd expect: Cool staging, U2-ish music, a bit juvenile, with an unsatisfying ending. He say the new villain introduced was metaphysical.

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