Would 'Spider-man' be your first Broadway musical choice?

December 1, 2010
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I'm fascinated by the amount of attention that "Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark" is generated. I'm not surprised, just fascinated.  When was the last time a Broadway show was the subject of national press--and a joke on late-night talk shows?

The reasons for the attention are pretty clear:

1. It's the most expensive show ever produced on Broadway, doubling the cost of the one it surpassed ("Shrek: The Musical").

2. It's director Julie Taymor's first family-friendly, high-profile B'way show since "The Lion King" in 1997.

3. It's a high-tech production, which means its glitches are big and obvious.

4. We live in a time of endless internet chatter, turning reports of those first preview glitches into gossip fodder.

5. Bono and the Edge wrote the music.

6. It seems to have smart PR people behind it.

7: It's about Spider-man. Duh. (Trivia note: This isn't the first superhero musical on Broadway. Anyone remember "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman!" or, for that matter, "Starmites"?)

What frustrates me is that, at the same time, Broadway's "The Scottsboro Boys," with music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb, has announced that it is closing after only about six weeks.

No, I haven't seen it, but this is one of the few musicals currently on Broadway that isn't a revival or based on a film, familiar pop culture characters, or a song catalogue. The others on that short list? "Memphis," "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," "In the Heights" and "Next to Normal."

I understand completely that those shows have less story value for today's media than "Spider-man." But here's hoping that the web-slinging guy, successful or not (financially or artistically), doesn't push truly original musicals further to the fringe.

(Oh, and if you can't afford tickets to "Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark," you can at least enjoy, for free, "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog" starring Neil Patrick Harris. Find the first episode here.)

Your thoughts?

If you were in New York City and had the means, would "Spider-man" be your first musical choice?

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  • Mud slinging
    I saw the "60 Minutes" installment on the show last weekend and a lot of the other media reports. The press has been particularly gleeful in reporting what appears to be a massive act of hubris involving some high-profile people ripe for a fall, but judging from what I heard of the score and saw of the aerial stunts, it's going to be a spectacular show when they work out the glitches.
  • It just so happens
    I'm heading to NYC next week and I'll be seeing Spider Man. I'm hopeful that a week and a half or two will be enough time for the glitches will be worked out.

    I'll try to report back what I see.
  • I wuz there
    Went to the first preview at the end of a marathon show weekend over Thanksgiving- 7 shows. Spidey needs a lot of work, but the costumes, set and acrobatics are spectacular. The music - nothing memorable. The Geek (not Greek) chorus - confusing. The story - drags a little. This show needs to be tightened up. Worth seeing - sure - assuming that a lot of work is done. But first see Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet and La Bette. (And Wicked if you haven't been.) And if its still there - do not miss Merchant of Venice - fantastic production - Pacino is great. Scottboro was good but not great - minstrel approach just didn't work for me - but great cast. Bloody, Bloody - not my cup of tea - but very creative in an offbeat sort of way. And Elf - also worth seeing - is very well done given it has a classic movie to live up to. Lots of good shows to see.
  • Quite possible
    I'll be there over New Year's and it's definitely on the short list, especially since it's still in previews...could be fun, will definitely be interesting.
  • To answer your question...
    ...No, Spider-Man would not my first choice. I wasn't a huge a fan of the movie versions of Spider-Man, so maybe that has something to do with it. However, for me, there are so many other shows I would prefer to see first. BTW, if you haven't seen Fela!, it is absolutely amazing, and is only on Broadway for a few more weeks. Fela! was probably one of the best musicals I have seen, if not the best!
  • Inflation
    Spiderman would not be my first choice as I believe the ticket price is way above any show I have ever seen in New York. Big production costs big ticket price. I believe the story I saw on a morning show stated that tickts (good tickets) were going to cost around $285 a piece. One could see several broadway productions for that kind of change
  • Worth noting...
    It might be worth noting that former Indianapolis native Luther Creek ("Rent", "Urinetown") is in "Spider-man: TOTD".
  • more closings
    More info:

    "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," "Next to Normal," and "In the Heights" are all set to close in Janury.
  • First on my list
    I can't wait to go see Spider-Man. I've not bought tickets yet, and probably won't get back to NYC until at least this spring, but once they get the kinks worked out it should be Spectaular and Amazing!
  • Spiderman on my list
    I'll be in New York this weekend and Spiderma in previews is my firs choice if I can score a ticket. I'm courious to see the effects and hear the music.

    I've seen a number of shows in previews over the years and they have ranged from the biggest bomb - CARRIE THE MUSICAL.....to one of my most delighful evenings on Broadway - JEROME ROBBINS BROADWAY.

  • No to Spiderman...
    I'm visiting NYC in January and will not be seeing Spiderman. We saw "Million Dollar Quartet" and "Memphis" in April, and we LOVED both, especially "Memphis." Hoping to have just as good of an experience next month. Any suggestions for other shows, Lou, especially since several notables will be closing?

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