Last night was the first preview performance of the new Julie Taymor/U2 Broadway jam Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the much-plagued musical about Peter Parker and his super-villain enemies. So how'd it go? Well, please stand by for technical difficulties.
As reported on Twitter (sigh) and in The New York Times, the curtain was delayed because of technical problems (including a bit of rigging falling into the audience), actors got stuck hanging over the audience because of technical problems, the intermission was upped to a half hour because of technical problems, and ultimately, yes because of technical problems, the whole evening clocked in at a whopping 3 hours and 44 minutes. The audience got restless:
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.
Act II began shortly after 9 p.m. and unfolded fairly smoothly until about 50 minutes later, when Mr. White called for a pause. After a few minutes, as some audience members were stretching, a woman in the audience suddenly shouted, "I don't know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today - I feel like it's a dress rehearsal." She was met with a chorus of boos. The performance resumed a moment later; the show ended at 10:09 p.m.
Yiiiiikes. For a high school or community production of a musical? Sure, OK, mistakes will be made. But for a show that costs upwards of $289 a ticket, that is really not acceptable.
Predictably, the show's most incessant critic, New York Post harridan Michael Riedel, is thrilled to hear this news, calling the show an "epic flop." Which is a bit harsh after only one performance, sure, but if they don't get their tech shit together, then yes, this will indeed be an epic, $60m+ flopola. And, for what it's worth, according to Twitter and internet message boards, the non-tech aspects of the show — book, score, acting — aren't terribly impressive. So, too bad.
This theatergoer is seeing the show on Friday and, to be honest, is excited to see it in two ways: either it'll actually be really good (right...), or it will be my Carrie: The Musical moment, the one I can speak of years from now to wide-eyed young theater immigrants as I hold court at Angus McIndoe's, remembering the good old weird days of 2010. That's the best a theater person can realistically hope for in life, I think.
Hows about you? Do the show's failures deter you from going, or oddly encourage you to buy a ticket?