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Denebola » Article » Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark­­­—a tangled web
Arts and Entertainment

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark­­­—a tangled web

By Sophie Scharlin-Pettee
Published: April 2011
The legend of Spider-Man has dazzled the minds of people of all ages since the idea was first imagined in 1962, by Marvel writers Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Spider-Man was created in the age when teenage characters were almost always sidekicks, and Spider-Man broke the norm by featuring Peter Parker.
Peter Parker is a high school student with typical worries such as rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness, allowing him to be a relatable character to young readers everywhere.
Evan Kelly, Newton South’s Tech Director and self-proclaimed comic book geek, believes “that what has made Spider-Man a lasting character is his human foibles.”
Since then, the legend of Spider-Man has enraptured audiences of all ages with numerous films starring acclaimed actors such as Tobey Maguire, and has consequently developed into a comic empire.
Recently, Spider-man has caught the attention of not only high-caliber film producers, but ambitious Broadway executives
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was originally the newest production of director Julie Taymor, who has produced international successes such as The Lion King and directed the hit Beatles-centric film Across the Universe.
The music was composed by U2’s Bono and the band The Edge, with it’s script written by director Julie Taymor and Glen Berger.
Taymor’s most recent musical about the web-swinging, spandex-wearing hero has already cost her sixty-five million dollars, especially with the demands of a 1,928-seat Foxwoods theatre on 42nd street, tailored to fit the many specific challenges the show has presents.
“She’s a brilliant director and has done wonderful work with challenging material,” Kelly said.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is only one example of how commenplace heroes and comics have become in our society.
With recent Box-office hits like Superman, X-Men, and The Dark Knight, America is embracing the once-nerdy heroes of society’s previously voiceless individuals.
Comic books, once scoffed at for their demographic, are now regarded affectionately.
People have certainly been flocking to see the spectacle, with a record-breaking statistic of more than one hundred preview performances for Taymor’s creation.
As opposed to norm for most shows, the preview performances have not been out of a desire for building anticipation, but out of necessity.
The musical adaptation of Spider-Man involves actors web-swinging over the audience, cables and wires being the only life-line the actors have.
With at least four actors injured, the show has already become infamous for its breathtaking but dangerous stunts.
“I have heard it is a technical disaster.  They are trying to create a circus-like environment in a traditional set up.
There are a lot of flying effects and if they were constrained to the stage area they’d be much more manageable,” said Kelly.
The original Arachne (Spider-Man’s spider nemesis), Natalie Mendoza, has already quit due to concussion and been recast with 29-year-old T.V. Carpio.
Actor Christopher Tierney fell almost thirty feet into the pit orchestra, resulting in a fractured skull, a broken scapula, a broken elbow, four broken ribs, a bruised lung, and three fractured vertebrae.
A stunt man even fell during a rehearsal and was impaled on the Empire State Buiding’s spire.
The only leading-role cast member that remains from the original casting is Reeve Carney, the actor portraying Spider-Man.  “Whenever anyone gets hurt it is a warning sign to stop,” said Kelly.
The show’s opening night has already been delayed numerous times, and is currently set for Tuesday, June 14th, 2011.  It’s original air date was Tuesday, December 21st, 2010.
Many people have found the show to be aesthetically dazzling but otherwise lacking in its dialogue and music, gaining negative reviews from sources such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
It has been quoted by Ben Brantley of The New York Times as being “not only the most expensive musical to ever hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.”
Kelly feels that “the production is focusing more on the spectacular notion of comic books, not the telling of an engaging story.”
Jeff Knoedler, Newton South’s Arts Department head, had heard of the disaster-prone show, saying, “I also think that the notoriety of the musical has taken on a life of its own, and people seem to be attacking it without really knowing much about it.”
Within the past month, Julie Taymor was actually fired as the director for “commitment conflicts,” which has only added to the fervor and infamy of the web-swinging musical.
“All this is really surprising to me because of the artists leading the project.  Julie Taymor is one of the most exciting theater artists working today.  Bono and the Edge are excellent musicians.
I was excited to hear they were teaming up to create a musical and am shocked that it seems to have turned out so badly,” said Knoedler.
Kelly said, “The problem with the show is the spectacle came before the story.”
Despite its dangerous stunts and not-quite-heralded quality, ticket sales continue to rise, grossing more than 1.3 million dollars in a single February week.
It seems that in spite of the negative attention and unenthusiastic press, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is persevering and will be the first and likely last Broadway musical to ever feature actors waging fierce battles in tights and masks over the audience.
Says Knoedler, “I’d like to see it for myself.”

The legend of Spider-Man has dazzled the minds of people of all ages since the idea was first imagined in 1962, by Marvel writers Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.Spider-Man was created in the age when teenage characters were almost always sidekicks, and Spider-Man broke the norm by featuring Peter Parker.Peter Parker is a high school student with typical worries such as rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness, allowing him to be a relatable character to young readers everywhere.Evan Kelly, Newton South’s Tech Director and self-proclaimed comic book geek, believes “that what has made Spider-Man a lasting character is his human foibles.”Since then, the legend of Spider-Man has enraptured audiences of all ages with numerous films starring acclaimed actors such as Tobey Maguire, and has consequently developed into a comic empire. Recently, Spider-man has caught the attention of not only high-caliber film producers, but ambitious Broadway executivesSpider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was originally the newest production of director Julie Taymor, who has produced international successes such as The Lion King and directed the hit Beatles-centric film Across the Universe.The music was composed by U2’s Bono and the band The Edge, with it’s script written by director Julie Taymor and Glen Berger.Taymor’s most recent musical about the web-swinging, spandex-wearing hero has already cost her sixty-five million dollars, especially with the demands of a 1,928-seat Foxwoods theatre on 42nd street, tailored to fit the many specific challenges the show has presents.“She’s a brilliant director and has done wonderful work with challenging material,” Kelly said.Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is only one example of how commenplace heroes and comics have become in our society. With recent Box-office hits like Superman, X-Men, and The Dark Knight, America is embracing the once-nerdy heroes of society’s previously voiceless individuals.Comic books, once scoffed at for their demographic, are now regarded affectionately.People have certainly been flocking to see the spectacle, with a record-breaking statistic of more than one hundred preview performances for Taymor’s creation.As opposed to norm for most shows, the preview performances have not been out of a desire for building anticipation, but out of necessity.The musical adaptation of Spider-Man involves actors web-swinging over the audience, cables and wires being the only life-line the actors have.  With at least four actors injured, the show has already become infamous for its breathtaking but dangerous stunts.  “I have heard it is a technical disaster.  They are trying to create a circus-like environment in a traditional set up. There are a lot of flying effects and if they were constrained to the stage area they’d be much more manageable,” said Kelly.The original Arachne (Spider-Man’s spider nemesis), Natalie Mendoza, has already quit due to concussion and been recast with 29-year-old T.V. Carpio. Actor Christopher Tierney fell almost thirty feet into the pit orchestra, resulting in a fractured skull, a broken scapula, a broken elbow, four broken ribs, a bruised lung, and three fractured vertebrae.A stunt man even fell during a rehearsal and was impaled on the Empire State Buiding’s spire.The only leading-role cast member that remains from the original casting is Reeve Carney, the actor portraying Spider-Man.  “Whenever anyone gets hurt it is a warning sign to stop,” said Kelly.The show’s opening night has already been delayed numerous times, and is currently set for Tuesday, June 14th, 2011.  It’s original air date was Tuesday, December 21st, 2010.Many people have found the show to be aesthetically dazzling but otherwise lacking in its dialogue and music, gaining negative reviews from sources such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.It has been quoted by Ben Brantley of The New York Times as being “not only the most expensive musical to ever hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.” Kelly feels that “the production is focusing more on the spectacular notion of comic books, not the telling of an engaging story.” Jeff Knoedler, Newton South’s Arts Department head, had heard of the disaster-prone show, saying, “I also think that the notoriety of the musical has taken on a life of its own, and people seem to be attacking it without really knowing much about it.”   Within the past month, Julie Taymor was actually fired as the director for “commitment conflicts,” which has only added to the fervor and infamy of the web-swinging musical.  “All this is really surprising to me because of the artists leading the project.  Julie Taymor is one of the most exciting theater artists working today.  Bono and the Edge are excellent musicians.I was excited to hear they were teaming up to create a musical and am shocked that it seems to have turned out so badly,” said Knoedler.Kelly said, “The problem with the show is the spectacle came before the story.”Despite its dangerous stunts and not-quite-heralded quality, ticket sales continue to rise, grossing more than 1.3 million dollars in a single February week.It seems that in spite of the negative attention and unenthusiastic press, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is persevering and will be the first and likely last Broadway musical to ever feature actors waging fierce battles in tights and masks over the audience.  Says Knoedler, “I’d like to see it for myself.”

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