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.
Jason 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