After seven months of previews and a multitude of delays, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” finally saw its official opening on Broadway last night, June 14.
Since previews began in November 2010, the production has undergone a series of major rewrites and revisions. The finalized version now on stage at Foxwoods Theatre is the result of a three-week hiatus in previews, during which time a new creative team was hired to take over for the oustered Julie Taymor.
The musical now features a revised score and lyrics by Bono and The Edge. Book credits go to Taymor and co-author Glen Berger, as well as script doctor Robert Aguirre-Sacasa. Taymor also still receives credit for “original direction,” while new director Philip William McKinley receives a nod as the production’s “creative consultant.”
Though critics initially decried its convoluted plot, the retooled tuner should be familiar to even the most casual of Spidey fans. Peter Parker (played by Broadway newcomer Reeve Carney) is bitten by a mutant spider and develops super powers. As the unassuming Parker transforms into Spider-Man, he is increasingly torn between his childhood sweetheart, Mary Jane Watson (Jennifer Damiano), and his new life as a superhero.
Patrick Page appears as the show’s main antagonist, Dr. Norman Osborn, who transforms into Spidey’s arch villain Green Goblin. The spider-goddess Arachne (T.V. Carpio), previously a central focus of Taymor’s script, has been downgraded to a more minor part as Parker’s guardian angel.
Budget estimates for “Spider-Man” hang near $75 million, well beyond the already overblown $65 million figure cited around the start of previews.
Previews began November 28, 2010. Over the show’s 26 weeks of previews, attendance has averaged about 95 percent capacity at the 1,928-seat Foxwoods Theatre. Weekly grosses have remained over $1.2 million, with few exceptions, for a gross total of $32.4 million, according to the Broadway League.
Regular ticket prices range from $67.50 to $140 on Ticketmaster.com, with premium tickets set at $300. Evening performances are staged Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Foxwoods Theatre is located at 213 West 42nd Street, New York, NY. “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” runs two hours and 45 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission. More details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“This singing comic book is no longer the ungodly, indecipherable mess it was in February. It’s just a bore.”|
|TheaterMania||Dan Bacalzo||“Carney cuts a dashing figure as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but he doesn’t infuse the role with much personality.”|
|The Wall Street Journal||Terry Teachout||“It’s neither good enough to get you excited nor bad enough to make you mad, and that will in all likelihood be its epitaph…”|
|New York Daily News||Joe Dziemianowicz||“As a salvage mission, the accomplishments are impressive.”|
|New York Magazine||Scott Brown||“‘Spider-Man’ was a bad Julie Taymor musical; it is now, wholeheartedly, a terrible U2 musical…”|
|Associated Press||Mark Kennedy||“[Page] has a villainous voice that commands and excellent comic timing, and he provides the impish joy this show desperately needs.”|