November 20, 2013
Broadway has been rocked this week with news that the $75 million musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is to close at the Foxwoods Theater in New York.
The most expensive musical in Broadway history, probably world history, will be leaving New York on 4 January 2014.
Despite packed audiences for it’s initial previews, ticket sales have declined. With running costs said to be around $1.2 million a week, and a gross last week that only touched $742,000 out of a potential $1.5 million, the show has been looking vulnerable for a while.
A new iteration of the show is being planned for Las Vegas in 2015. A much-rumoured West End opening, where producers were believed to have been searching for a large London theatre such as the Palladium or Drury Lane to host the show, now seems highly unlikely.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark features a score by U2’s Bono and The Edge. The show started previews on 26 November 2010 but didn’t open at the Foxwoods Theatre until 14 June 2011 after a troubled preview period that saw the show’s director and co-book-writer Julie Taymor (Disney’s The Lion King) fired from the show and replaced by Philip William McKinley and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The show was also beset by cast injuries, with six actors injured so far.
In April this year Julie Taymor settled her lawsuit with the producers of the show.
The Foxwoods Theater was bought last year by UK-based Ambassador Theatre Group, headed by Rosemary Squire and Howard Panter.
JULIE TAYMOR TED TALK
If you haven’t already seen this fascinating TED talk with Julie Taymor from 2011, it is worth a look. She talks about life on the creative edge, her work on The Lion King and Spider-Man, and the talk came just at the time when she was most under fire during Spider-Man’s production. A fascinating insight into her and the creative process.
August 14, 2012
Mega Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is set to open in London, although date and venue are yet to be confirmed.
One of the most technically challenging and spectacular Broadway musicals of all time is set to come to London, as the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark look for a venue in London to host the show.
The show follows the storyline of the comic book series and the 2002 movie, featuring teenager Peter Parker and his super spider powers, pitted against enemies including the Green Goblin.
Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark has become as famous for its backstage antics as its on-stage spectacle, with a very public falling out between producers and the original director Julie Taymor, and a series of serious accidents that occurred in previews and early shows as the cast got to grips with the technically complex aerial flying.
The show features a score and lyrics by U2’s Bono and the Edge and is directed by Julie Taymor and Phillip William McKinley, with a book by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. It is currently unclear whether the lead of the Broadway show, Reeve Carney, would transfer to London or if the producers will find a home-grown Spider-Man. A UK star has become more likely since British actor Andrew Garfield was cast in the latest movie rebooting of the franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man.
The challenge for the producers in London will be to find a venue big enough to host this giant show. Watch this space.
Details to be confirmed. Sign up to our news alerts service to hear about booking for this show.
August 7, 2011
The official music video has been released for RISE ABOVE 1 from Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark.
The video, starring Spider-Man star Reeve Carney, also features Bono & The Edge from U2. The video also features some spectacular on stage and behind-the-scenes action from the Broadway show.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark – New video for Rise Above Pt. 1
May 14, 2011
The spectacular (and controversial) musical inspired by 40 years of Marvel comic books, following the story Peter Parker, whose unremarkable teenage life is turned upside-down when he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider. With music by U2’s Bono and The Edge.
May 14, 2011
A new TV commercial has been launched for the “reimagined” Broadway musical Spider-Man Turn off the Dark, starring Reeve Carney and featuring music and lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge.
The show, which cost around $70 million – the most expensive Broadway musical ever staged, reopened on Thursday (12 May 2011) after closing for a revamp on 19 April. It has been previewing since November 2010.
Producers of the much-troubled musical parted company with the show’s original director, co-writer and visionary Julie Taymor in March, to be replaced by playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, director Philip William McKinley and choreographer Chase Brock. The new team has cleaned up the story, added more flying sequences, and Bono and The Edge have also reworked a number of the songs.
Reeve Carney stars as Peter Parker in the show. He told CBS News that the changes had been “reinvigorating” and that, “there’s an energy in the company because of having a clear direction, knowing where we’re headed and knowing that it’s going to be to a greater place.”
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark – New TV Commercial
March 4, 2011
Another week, another Spider-Man update! In the ongoing saga of the world’s most expensive, and possibly most previewed, musical its director Julie “The Lion King” Taymor has now spoken out about the Spidey woes.
At a conference in California earlier this week, she told the packed audience that she was currently “in the crucible and the fire of transformation” as she and her team of actors and creators continue to work on the show. The current opening night is set for 15 March, but apparently this may delayed again for a sixth time.
“I am in the crucible right now”, she said. “It is my trial by fire. It’s my company’s trial by fire. We have survived because our theme song is ‘Rise Above.’ ”
Taylor went on to say that “Anyone who creates knows — when it’s not quite there. Where it hasn’t quite become the phoenix or the burnt char. And I am right there.”
The show has cost more than $65 million, the most expensive show in Broadway, and possibly world, history. Changes continue to be made to the book, music and direction and we hear that Bono caught up with the show on Tuesday night to see how it is going – the first time since mid-January.
Mid-January? He is co-creator of the show with fellow U2 band member The Edge. It is the most talked about show in decades. The critics have all broken the producer/critics pact to not review a show before opening night and have all piled in with damning reviews. Don’t you think you would see it again before now?
Taymor may well be losing the plot herself given the long volcano anecdote she told the conference, allowing us to compare and contrast with the Spider-Man debacle: “I am on the precipice looking down into a dead volcano on my left, on the right it is sheer shale. I am in thongs and sarong and no hiking boots. I realize I can’t go back the way I have come. I can’t. So I throw away my camera. I throw away my thongs and I looked at the line straight in front of me. And I got down on all fours like a cat. And I held with my knees to either side of this line in front of me — 30 yards or 30 feet, I don’t know. The wind was massively blowing, and the only way I could get to the other side was to look at the line straight in front of me.”
Despite the ongoing drama behind-the-scenes of the show, and sometimes in front of the curtain as a number of the cast have been injured during the complex flying and fight scenes, Taylor maintains that, “it’s right there in the palm of my hands. In all of my company’s hands. I have beautiful collaborators. We as collaborators only get there all together. I know you understand that. You stay there going forward and you see this extraordinary thing right in front of your eyes.”
You’ve got to give her something for that.
February 4, 2011
Why wait to review a show when hundreds of thousands of audience members have seen it before you?
It appears that theatre critics of some of the major New York and US press are losing their patience with Julie Taymor and Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.
The show has been delayed countless times since its original opening date of 21 December 2010. Producers recently announced that the new opening night would be set for 15 March 2011, to allow more fine-tuning of the complicated technical aspects of the show, notably the flying sequences, which have caused a number of high-profile injuries during rehearsals and previews.
Julie Taylor, director of The Lion King, has justified the repeated delays by arguing that the extended previews are in lieu of the usual pre-Broadway, out-of-town try-out for big New York musicals.
But New York critics are becoming increasingly angry about not being allowed to review the show, exacerbated by Spider-Man pulling in large audiences at the Foxwoods Theatre, beating Wicked at the box-office and often drawing over $1.5 million a week.
The New York Drama Critics’ Circle, which represents critics at papers such as the New York Post, The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal and Newsday, met earlier this week and Spider-Man was on the agenda. President of the organisation, Adam Feldman, wrote on his TimeOut New York blog that, “the discussion was spirited but that we did not resolve to stick to any specific course of action as a group on the question of when to review the show, whose preview period has been extended multiple times.”
That said, critics at major New York and US papers are apparently preparing to review the show ahead of the official opening night, despite protests from the show’s producers. Also a number of New York critics have already filed reviews based on preview performances, something which is frowned upon by producers on both sides of the Atlantic. Jeremy Gerard from Bloomberg News and Linda Winer from Newsday have both broken ranks with other critics and written reviews.
Critics are right in feeling frustrated. The gentleman’s agreement between critics and producers to wait until the official opening night before filing a review should work both ways. Continually preventing the press from expressing an opinion on a major show, whilst audiences swell in, makes a mockery of their profession.
In an age of blogging, when amateur critics feel no compunction to honour these kinds of agreements and happily post reviews during previews, producers should respect the work of professional theatre critics.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, who encountered vocal bloggers during previews of his new Adelphi show Love Never Dies, must be watching Spider-Man events with interest. Lloyd-Webber was particularly perturbed by the bloggers, but must be wishing that he, too, had risked lengthening the preview period to iron out some of its creases.
Since posting this, Mark Shenton of the Stage and Charles Spencer of the Telegraph have both filed reviews of the show. And they are not good. Both have lost patience and personally bought tickets to review the show. Would they have done this if it was in London? Hard to say, and would be interesting to know.
January 12, 2011
The world’s most expensive musical, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, has knocked Wicked off the Number One slot at the box-office on Broadway.
The new show, directed by The Lion King’s Julie Taymor and previewing at the Foxwoods Theatre in New York, pulled in $1,588,514 at the box-office last week.
The show was originally slated to open on 11 January. However, a number of set-backs have led the costly show to put back its official opening to 7 February.
Such has been the intense interest around the musical that a number of New York critics have filed reviews based on preview performances, something which is frowned upon by producers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Jeremy Gerard from Bloomberg News and Linda Winer from Newsday have both broken ranks with other critics and written reviews, joining the wave of on-line bloggers who have been posting about the show.
The production has suffered a series of cast injuries during its rehearsals and previews as a result of the ambitious flying sequences staged throughout the show. The most serious incident was stunt man Christopher Tierney, who suffered from four broken ribs and three cracked vertebrae after falling 30 feet into the orchestra pit. He hopes to return to the show once he recovers.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark features music and lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge and stars Reeve Carney as the Marvel comic book hero Peter Parker who is bitten by a spider and finds he has super powers.
November 28, 2010
The world’s most expensive musical, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, starts previews tonight, Sunday 29 November, on Broadway.
The major new show directed by The Lion King’s Julie Taymor and featuring music and lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge, starts previews tonight, Sunday 28 November 2010, at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway.
A new TV commercial for Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark has been released to publicise the show, which formally opens at the venue on 11 January 2011, after technical delays prevented it opening before Christmas as previously scheduled.
The show features direction by Taymor (The Tempest, Across The Universe, The Lion King), music and lyrics by 22-time Grammy® Award-winners Bono and The Edge, and a book co-written by Taymor and Glen Berger (Underneath The Lintel).
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is widely seen as the most ambitious production ever undertaken on Broadway, and stars Reeve Carney as the Marvel comic book hero Peter Parker who is bitten by a spider and finds he has super powers.
The $50 million show has suffered a number of financial and funding problems, with delays causing original cast members Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming to drop out of the production. The star of the show, Reeve Carney, is a member of rock band CARNEY, alongside his brother Zane. His acting credits include Ferdinand in Taymor’s forthcoming movie The Tempest, alongside Helen Mirren as a female Prospero, Ben Whishaw as Ariel and Djimon Hounsou as Caliban.
November 28, 2010
TV commercial for major new Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, starring Reeve Carney and directed by The Lion King’s Julie Taymor and featuring music and lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark – TV Commercial