Spider-Man on Broadway

SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK has been receiving mixed reviews since it began preview’s three years ago.  After seeing it, I can see why.  If you are a kid, this show is an epic comic musical.  You get to see a spooky goblin along with other scary figures attempt to take over a city and then you see a hero ultimately win.  A true good versus evil story.  However, if you are looking for a Broadway musical that will leave you with songs to remember and a charming love story, it won’t be found here.  The show plays to the “campy” creation it is.  Bono and The Edge wrote the music and lyrics to the show and the book was a collaboration between three people: Julie Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.  Splice in some familiar U2 songs such as “Beautiful Day” throughout and trust me, you won’t forget who wrote it.

theater-spider-manjpg-77eed48818bec472Jason Gotay who played Peter Parker/Spider-Man shined on songs where he was able to highlight his vocal range.  However, his counterpart Mary Jane Watson played by Rebecca Faulkenberry was far from lovable.  She wasn’t a strong singer, nor was she captivating.  It was an odd match and didn’t allow for any heartfelt moments.  Flash, played by Jake Odmark did an excellent job at playing the stereotypical high school bully.  Sporting a letterman jacket, 80’s mohawk and bleached blonde hair was a great touch.  Robert Cuccioli doubled as Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin.  Although he was an evil scientist, the kids in the audience loved him.  It’s not every day that a villain is liked and this show did a nice job of making him cruel but not scaring the kids too much.

The highlights of the show were the costumes, designed by Eiko Ishioka and aerial design by Scott Rogers.  When characters were in their day-to-day clothes, they looked like the average person on the street.  However, when the evil characters stepped foot on stage, they had elaborate costumes that popped with color and pizazz.  When Spider-Man bounded around the stage and flew over the audience, everyone was amazed.  It is a treat to see that kind of theatricality.

This show is well designed for kids who like Spider-Man and other cartoon characters.  The musical itself is easily forgotten but it has some fun elements to it and is a great way to introduce children to theater.  I’m up in the air on this one (no pun intended).  For more information check out the SPIDER-MAN website: http://spidermanonbroadway.com/

Rating: That Is The Question


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3 Responses to Spider-Man on Broadway

  1. Bartley I agree with you about the music not standing out, and the costumes were the highlight. One thing I felt stand out as well was the weaving dance in the very beginning.

  2. Your review implies it is a U2 jukebox musical – using pre-existing U2 songs. Bono & The Edge wrote brand new songs (except for when they play “Beautiful Day” in the club scene), and the musical underscoring which is actually the best part. I don’t think the songs were written for female voices, Mary Jane’s songs were never strong even with Jenn Damiano singing them – beautiful singing; poor writing.

    Julie Taymor and Glen Berger collabrated on the book. Aguirre-Sacasa came in later to rewrite it, and take out most of Julie’s core concepts (Arachne as the main villain).

    I agree the musical is best suited for kids.

  3. Jessica- You are right, the costumes and the weaving dance were great!

    Myra- Sorry for the confusion. There were a few times that the U2 music underscored as you said. Thanks for the clarification on the writing. In the Playbill it listed all three names.

    Thank you both for the comments! I always enjoy reading others thoughts on shows.

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