Spiderman- Lights dim but it’s there
Recently I had the opportunity to see the new Broadway show “Spiderman: Turn off the Dark.” In case you didn’t know this show has been surrounded by controversy since conception. From injuries, delays, rewriting and firing acclaimed director Julie Taymor (The Lion King Musical, Across the Universe) the multi-million dollar production, which was supposed to be Broadway’s next big blockbuster, unfortunately became Broadway’s biggest joke. With each new failure gave critics new ammo to close the show before it even opened. However, even with all the problems Spiderman was still on my “must see’ list due to my love of the theater not to mention I’m a fan of the comic.
I wont lie to you, the first 30 minutes of the show I had a “What is this” face. The opening number had the signature Taymor flash but it made very little sense to me.
The first couple of songs were less than spectacular and Reeve Carney’s rock tone wasn’t helping. Carney’s voice actually just confused me because it didn’t seem to fit a nerdy persona like Peter Parker. However, T.V. Carpio as the Goddess Arachne was perfect. Her tone matched the serene character flawlessly but I digress….
The choreography would have been more effective if it didn’t seem so unrehearsed. Some transitions were very choppy. You could almost see the thin layer of glue they used to piece Julie Taymor’s and replacement director, Glen Berger’s, visions together. But the deal breaker for me was the Blow Up doll they used to represent a wrestler to fight Spidey. I was done and curious to find out where all the money went.
I was about to walk out of the theater when the AMAZING happened, Peter Parker turned into spiderman. Once the stunt man made his first leap over the audience as the costume vigilante I was hooked. As Peter Parker transformed in to Spiderman the show transformed into something worth watching. Forget the stage choreography the aerial work makes up for it. The already very intriguing set becomes even more alive giving the audience the feeling they are watching a comic book come to life and it is really cool. The story line, which was basically a make shift of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movie franchise, wasn’t overly done and kid friendly. Patrick Page as the Green Goblin brought a new level of wit to the show that was missing in the first half. Last but not least, collectively Bono & The Edge supplied enough note worthy songs to encourage me to download the album. Some are even billboard top 40 worthy. (“Rise Above” has been on repeat. See link) I asked where did the money go and the last hour and thirty minutes of the show answered it for me.
I had my skeptics on how they were going to make a comic book hero into a successful musical. To be honest I can’t even say “Spiderman: Turn of the Dark” is successful example. However, I will say by the end of the show you will be so WOWED and ENTERTAINED. By the end I totally forgot about the beginning and my $40 became well worth it.