Wednesday, February 21, 2024

“Spider Man” on Broadway: New Version a Lot Like Old, Just Rearranged

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“Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” finally opens–yes, opens– on June 14th after a wild winter and spring of previews, the sidelining of creator Julie Taymor, and a three week shutdown to retool the show’s story. Now, as the $70 million-plus musical– infamous for its performers getting hurt –prepares to reveal itself, it turns out that the new “Spider Man” is a lot like the old one, just polished up to make better sense.

I ran into producer Michael Cohl having dinner last night at the very hot as a pistol (and loud!) Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village, where he was taking a few minutes off.  Cohl told me the show is being “locked” in a couple of days, meaning all the changes will be final. And guess what? Julie Taymor’s going to get a surprise. There’s just as much of her work in the show as there was to start with, only it’s been rearranged. Taymor’s amazing set piece of Arachne, the Spider-woman, weaving her web in mid air now opens the show. Arachne, who was Taymor’s creation and vision, now serves as a guiding light for Spidey/Peter Parker as the show progresses. Gone, of course, is the “geek chorus” of four graffiti spraying teenagers who tried to explain the show. The way Cohl and company have worked, no explanations are needed.

Bono and The Edge have added just one song, Cohl says, called “A Freak Like Me.”  And, just as I suggested in this space several times over the last few months, there are now snippets of U2 hits woven into the show. “Spider Man,” which is playing at 94% capacity in its third week back, and should do even better once it’s opened and families are flocking in for summer vacation.

One more thing: Cohl told me that once the show is settled in, the plan is not to go to Las Vegas first, as many had thought. We’ll have to see which city is picked as their first stop.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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