The most expensive musical in the history of Broadway, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” has a budget of $65 million and operating costs of one million dollars per week. Plagued with disasters from its inception, the musical had its opening preview last night in New York City and the results weren’t exactly super. Get the full story after the jump, along with a 60 Minutes video that takes us behind-the-scenes of the production.
For those of you entirely unfamiliar with the project, “Turn Off the Dark” is directed by visionary filmmaker Julie Taymor (Across the Universe, Titus) who has had massive success on stage before with her long-running interpretation of The Lion King. The music and lyrics were written by Bono and The Edge from the band U2. The production went through an intense casting process which, at one point, was set to reunite Taymor with her Across the Universe actors Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood as Peter Parker and Mary Jane before incessant delays caused the two to drop out and Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano to step in.
Last night’s production – which, to be clear, was just a “preview” and not the actual opening night, currently set for January 11, 2011 – ran nearly three and a half hours long and was held up multiple times due to technical malfunctions from the equipment required for the high-flying stunts. At one point, a woman reportedly shouted during the second act, “I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today — I feel like it’s a dress rehearsal.” The woman was booed into silence, but there is still some question as to whether this stage adaptation will be fully ready for its opening curtain.
Perhaps “Turn Off the Dark” will come down with James Cameron syndrome, in which buoying budgets and troubled productions cause massive doubt from the public, but those doubts are quelled on opening night when the final product is revealed. (Don’t forget, this happened with both Titanic and Avatar, two of the highest-grossing films of all time.) The costume design has been met with scoffs across the interwebs, so we’ll see how it actually plays out come January when “real” reviews will start pouring in. If you happen to be in New York and get a chance to see it, definitely let us know what you think. In the meantime, “60 Minutes” has an interesting behind-the-scenes video about the production which I’ll include below.