Why the Spider-Man Musical is a Terrible Idea

11/24/2009 9:19 AM |

Spider Man Musical

When the curtain finally rises on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (February 25, supposedly), after six years of development and a budget of $52 million, it will reveal New York City in ruins and on fire, and a section of the Brooklyn Bridge will rise up onto the stage and reveal Mary Jane (Evan Rachel Wood) dangling precariously over the edge.

John Horn discusses a leaked script for the Spidey musical in a recent L.A. Times article, and goes into some interesting details about the production. For instance, that the show requires an army of 40 stagehands because of all the elaborate aerial work, props and special effects, or that its projected $1 million weekly budget is vastly larger than the most costly productions currently running on Broadway, Mary Poppins and West Side Story.

Horn holds out hope despite all the production’s difficulties: With the cut-off date for Tonys eligibility in April and the licensing rights to the comic expiring that month, it’s basically now or never for the super-production. The Guardian‘s Alexis Soloski doesn’t really see the point, though, and takes some pains to suggest that stage and screen spectacles don’t necessarily have the same ingredients.

And there’s the added problem that the kids who’ve made the Spider-Man movie franchise so profitable will have a harder time getting their parents to shell out $100-$200 for Broadway tickets. If nothing else, the show has the star power (Julie Taymor, Bono, The Edge, Alan Cumming) to draw huge crowds, and come February it’s going to need to bring in sell-out audiences every night for a long time to make back its investors money. The global theater community is waiting with bated breath to proclaim this production a flop or a success.