With great expense comes great avidity. And over the weekend, the most expensive production in Broadway finally landed -- even when a stranded-in-midair star required the audience to literally suspend its disbelief.
After months of delays and headlines, the three-hour "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" on Sunday had its first preview, which reportedly included at least five tech glitches -- including one that left the webslinging star Reeve Carney suspended aloft over the audience for several minutes -- and prompted the catcall heard 'round the Web, as it were.
The $65-million-and-counting production -- directed by that visual visionary Julie Taymor and scored by U2's Bono and The Edge -- doesn't open till next year, but the first preview is already generating distinctly mixed reactions.
The New York Times reported that "most of the night's major flying sequences -- which make up a relative fraction of the show -- went off without a hitch, with children and some adults squealing in delight." Meanwhile, the New York Post said that theatergoers ripped the "epic flop" with its bad gadgetry, "dull score" and "baffling script."
Prior to the preview, "Turn Off the Dark" tried to spin as much as positive advance press as it could -- garnering a cover story from New York magazine and granting access to "60 Minutes" (video below). (The magazine followed the first performance with the inspired headline: "No One Killed at First Spider-Man Preview.")
Given the pedigree of the creative team, Comic Riffs holds out hope that "Spider-Man" -- much like Peter Parker himself right after that radioactive arachnid bite -- will rapidly begin to work out the kinks as it attempts to flex its high-tech superpowers. The production needs to get nimble quick, though, before the negative buzz threatens to turn off the footlights.
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