Monday, November 29, 2010

'Spider-Man' musical has its first preview...and it's a doozy

Photo: Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair

We've been bringing you the story of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark for a while now.  Today was a day that many people have been waiting for.  A "full" performance of the show was unveiled tonight in a preview performance.  "Full" is in quotes because tonight's show was stopped several times to try and fix technical glitches.  Those included rescuing Peter Parker from his harness in one of his first scenes.  The first act alone had to be stopped four times to fix problems. 

Take the jump to read more of what happened during the first preview.

Now, every show has its set of issues before opening night.  By then the director tinkers with everything and has given their notes to the actors and technical crew.  Even then, opening night can have its share of glitches.  But for a show of this magnitude, one has to wonder if perhaps they should have cancelled the previews this early.  As a shows creator, you want an audience to see your work at its best.  Sometimes that means waiting to open the curtain.  That was not the case tonight.

Some of the mistakes we heard of were the new character of Arachne (the spider that gives Parker his powers.  *sigh*) getting stuck for a few minutes over the audience.  She was there so long that the stage manager came on the PA and asked the audience to give it up for the actress hanging up there.  Another glitch that caused a delay during a piano number being played and sung by The Green Goblin (*double sigh*).  The pause took so long to fix that he ended up riffing on the piano and improvising until they were ready.  

Heading in to the end of Act I, when Mary Jane was supposed to be rescued from the top of the Chrysler Building, most of the building did not appear on stage.  Neither did MJ.  Spidey ended up swinging her in before what was supposed to be a dramatic exit that would have swung him right up to the balcony.  In a moment that has to be heartbreaking for a performer, the audience began laughing at how silly the scene was that was unfolding in front of them.  Spidey stuck several feet above the audience with stage hands trying  to grab his feet to pull him down.  They were there for a few minutes jumping up, trying to grab the swinging Web Slinger with no luck.

But through many of its problems tonight, much of the audience seemed to be on the side of the show.  This was evident during a pause in the second act.  A lady in the audience yelled, "I don't know how everyone else feels but I feel like a guinea pig.  I feel like its a dress rehearsal."  The audience then booed her.  They may have booed her, but she was right.  It was a rehearsal.  But that's what previews are.  They are rehearsals.  

These previews, however, can come at a big cost.  Not just the $1 million dollars a week that it is taking to stage this show.  Perception it's now out there that the show is not the hit audiences were hoping for.  If they are unable to get things ready in time for the official premiere on January 11th, Marvel's first leap on to Broadway could be a brief one.  At least they still got that Disney deal to fall back on.  Right?

Tonight was also when 60 Minutes ran a piece they have been working on since rehearsals for the show started.  This piece does show that if anyone can fix this and make it a hit, it's this team.

What say you?

POPped 10 feet above the audience
Jungle Jesse    

Thank you Anonymous for pointing out my late night/early morning typos. (Now corrected)  Contrary to opinion, I was not drunk, but probably should have been.


  1. Its is "it's" when it's "it is".

  2. True. And what "it" is, is a lack of cocktails in my system.