Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
This stage creation was a visual spectacular with colorful characters flying in all directions panoramically around and above the captive audience from start to finish.
Although Spider-Man started off slowly with 180 preview performances, this ultra-expensive musical proved itself to be very entertaining and captured my attention from the moment the curtain was raised.
Significant changes have been made since the preview shows in February, including a new writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and a new creative consultant, Philip William McKinley. Now the audience gets to know a fascinating, refreshing main character, Peter Parker, a science-oriented kid who gets bullied by others, falls for a pretty girl, obtains special powers from an experimental spider from a doctor’s laboratory, fights villains such as the Green Goblin and repels criticism from the editor of the Daily Bugle.
A simple love story unfolds between Peter Parker (Reeve Carney) and Mary Jane (Jennifer Damiano) and Peter demonstrates the insight to negotiate the allure of Mary Jane versus the meaning of saving the world.
Sacasa and McKinley have essentially eliminated the most dangerous stunts and replaced it with a lot of crowd-pleasing flying and swirling motion.
“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” leaves the viewer impressed as an elaborate, high-tech, high-priced entertainment package.
It’s too bad Glen Berger doesn’t have spidey-sense; it would have warned him to run away. But in 2005, when Berger was hired to work on a Broadway musical adaptation of Spider-Man, it seemed like a dream come true for the well-respected but financially struggling playwright. In the wake of the Spider-Man films, a musical version seemed like a surefire hit, especially given the director (Julie Taymor of The Lion King fame) and composers (Bono and Edge of U2). Everyone involved thought the show would be brilliant.