|SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK
About Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Reportedly the most expensive musical ever, "SPIDER-MAN, Turn Off the Dark," has gone through over seven months of previews, song changes from the hit-maker Bono and The Edge, multiple re-tooling efforts from original director and book-writer, Julie Taymor, creative consulting from Philip Wm. McKinley, serious injuries to the cast, and weathered massive amounts of bad publicity. Now the show has finally, and officially, opened with the fanfare worthy of the juggernaut it has become. The result is an elaborate and slow-moving production, that sits somewhere between a theme-park show and a theme-park ride but nowhere near a Broadway musical.
The underdeveloped songs from Bono and the Edge are sadly inept when it comes to the style necessary to sustain interest in the action on stage. Itís a blaring rock score with sound, so overly produced, that most of it doesnít resemble live voices at all. They might as well be playing a recording. The book, credited to Taymor, along with Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, was said to be convoluted in earlier versions. The final result is simply dull. It manages to retain the comic book flavor but lacks verve. It takes forty-five minutes before Spider-Man takes flight. Itís the moment that the show begins to pick up a little speed but itís a long wait until he flies once again.
Like any theme-park show/ride the thing that makes it exciting is the special effects, and if you just look at "Spider-Man" from this perspective youíve got a show that is visually arresting. George Tsypinís scene design, Donald Holderís lights, Eiko Ishiokaís costumes, Kyle Cooperís projections, Taymorís masks, along with some breath-taking aerial choreography from Daniel Ezralow, make for some stunning sequences.
The lead, played with sweet charm by Reeve Carney, is perfectly capable of inhabiting this cartoon version of the superhero. His love interest, played by Jennifer Damiano is equally appealing. The supporting cast of villains, and journalists, never has to stretch beyond the surface.
The story of a young science geek turned into a human spider-man with super strength is a really big franchise. But is it strong enough to save "Spider-Man," the musical? Only time will tell.
BY LESLEY ALEXANDER
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Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano, Patrick Page, Natalie Mendoza, Michael Mulheren, Ken Marks, Isabel Keating, Jeb Brown, T.V. Carpio, Mat Devine, Gideon Glick, Jonathan Schwartz, Matthew James Thomas, Laura Beth Wells
213 West 42nd Street
Neighborhood: Times Square
New York, NY 10036
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