After a nearly month-long hiatus for retooling, the beleaguered Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Broadway musicale resumed performances last night, and they didn't fuck up once! Well, that's not true. There were a few oopses, but mostly it sounds as though things went smoothly.
Both the New York Post and the New York Times dispatched intrepid reporters to stealthily observe the bandages coming off the nipped and tucked production, and they both reported that, well, it sounds like it's a pretty straightforward Spider-Man story now. From the Times:
The biggest changes, however, came in the plot and in the structure of the show. Extensive dialogue has been added, at least for now, that illuminates the anxieties and dreams of the main character, Peter Parker ... who becomes Spider-Man late in Act I. The creative team that replaced Ms. Taymor also expanded the romantic subplot between Peter and his childhood best friend, Mary Jane Watson ... At the same time, they significantly changed the character of Arachne.
In [Julie] Taymor's production, Arachne evolved into the show's primary villain and came to dominate Act II, performing or sharing four of its nine songs. In the new show, Arachne appears only a few times, as a sort of guardian angel for Peter, and on Thursday night had only one of the nine songs in Act II. In her place, the new team has expanded the character of Norman Osborn, who becomes the joke-spewing Green Goblin, originally a primary player in Act I.
OK, good! That Arachne character was an incoherent oddity. Now it's just a regular Spidey vs. Green Goblin story that everyone can recognize and appreciate. But what about the accidents that people now likely expect, like higher-brow NASCAR viewers? Eh, just a few bumps. From the Post:
Last night's show produced no casualties — but continued its tradition of technical glitches. At the start, a group of women are supposed to be weaving a complicated web — but their looms malfunctioned and they could create only a single stitch.
In another mishap, the Green Goblin character was left hanging while waiting for Spider-Man to appear.
That's a shame. That loom thing is the show's only truly beautiful moment. Or rather was. Who knows what's what now that everything's different! Everyone who already saw it has to now see it again. Why, that's rather brilliant of those Broadway bastards. Almost as if they planned it all along...
The one really negative-sounding thing about the redone version? There's apparently very little flying in the whole first act. Guys! That's why people are there! Just make the whole damn thing flying, with maybe a controlled "accident" thrown in for good measure. Give the people what they want. Bread and circuses!
[Photo via AP]