The Washington Post

Broadway’s ‘SPIDER-MAN’ turns off the lights in April; to open June 15

As expected by some entertainment observers, Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will shut down for more than two weeks as the troubled production's new creative team rushes in like emergency mechanics, ready to install their overhaul.

The lead producers also announced Friday that the $65-million-and-counting show -- the most expensive in Broadway history -- will officially open June 15. On Wednesday, sources with the production had indicated to Comic Riffs that the new opening date would be in June.

Performances will be canceled from April 19 to May 11. After multiple postponements of opening night, "Spider-Man" has now had 102 performances -- the longest preview period in Broadway history.

On Wednesday, the producers said that the opening would be in early summer and that director Julie Taymor would relinquish day-to-day duties of the production. The new creative team members, they said, are "The Boy From Oz's" Philip William McKinley (new staging) and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (book rewrites).

Aguirre-Sacasa is well-known to comics fans as a writer of Spider-Man books, as well as for his accomplishments as a playwright. In 2009, his stage adaptation of Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" received its world premiere the Round House Theatre in Bethesda (Md.).

Many media outlets ignored the March 15 date -- after the opening was postponed several times -- and decided to go ahead and review the production, a move that reportedly miffed the show's producers. "Turn Off the Dark" was mostly savaged by theater critics, including The Post's Peter Marks.

Despite -- or perhaps partly because of -- being cited for labor-safety violations after several performers were seriously injured last year, "Turn Off the Dark" has been one of the highest-grossing productions on Broadway, taking in more than $1-million in a week.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


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