Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the constantly troubled collaboration between Julie Taymor and one half of U2, had its first preview show last night. And how did it go? Well, the show — which cost $65 million, making it the most expensive Broadway musical ever — was consistently interrupted by technical problems that left set pieces missing, actors stranded on wires above the audience, and a running time of three hours and forty-four minutes.
Two especially choice bits from the New York Times:
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…
Crew members, standing on the stage, spent 45 seconds trying to grab Spider-Man by the foot, as the audience laughed and oohed.
Oof. That doesn't exactly sound dignified. And the other:
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.
Having been involved in far more screw-up-riddled high-school theater than was advisable, I can relate to this. But the people behind the show, like Taymor, insist that despite these technical glitches, the show is going to work out all its kinks and be nothing short of amazing. Hopefully, they're right, but they don't have much time — the show's official opening night is January 11.