Seven reactions to "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" musical

Producers of the most expensive musical in history, the $65 million "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," will not alter their performance schedule after a snafu-ridden first preview.

Producers of the most expensive musical in history, the $65 million "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," will not alter their performance schedule after a snafu-ridden first preview.

The show, featuring a score by U2's Bono and the Edge, is scheduled to open Jan. 11, after which official reviews will be published. Previews -- the performances prior to the opening that allow the show to take shape -- are generally not reported on, but the magnitude of the show had a significant press corps on hand, and countless tweeters and bloggers as well.

The first preview definitely had it technical problems -- a malfunctioning cable left a stunt double swinging over the audience at the end of the first act, scenery was not getting into place and overhead wires fell into the seats. The show had to be stopped four times in the first act and ran 3-1/2 hours.

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Here are a collection of responses, explanations and a bit of praise.

7. "'Boy Falls From the Sky' is the musical thread that begins the play and is craftily woven throughout, taking slight diversions with "Girl Falls From the Sky' to indicate the role the song has with Mary Jane's storyline. This may be the breakout song from the play, but 'Rise Above' has to be one of the most beautiful ones Bono has ever written as well as one of the most inspirational. ... The play itself was very disjointed with a very ambitious plot." -- Sherry Lawrence, atU2.com

6. "An epic flop as the $65 million show's high-tech gadgetry went completely awry amid a dull score and baffling script." -- Michael Riedel, New York Post

5. "It went much better last night than expected. We came within just inches of getting through the entire second half without a stop. In your first preview I think that's quite extraordinary." -- producer Michael Cohl to EW.com

4. "The story-telling is really unclear and I found it hard to understand exactly what was going on and why certain things were happening." - New York acting teacher Marc Tumminelli to the New York Times

3. "[Director Julie Taymor] is calling it a rock-and-roll circus drama. We don't really know what to call it, because there are so many aspects to it. It is elements of rock and roll, it's elements of circus, it's elements of opera, of musical theater. A great night out. I think that's what it is." -- The Edge to MTV News

2. "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. " -- Patrick Healy, New York Times

1. "New York City is the place to try audacious things, to go for broke, to throw the longest Hail Mary of your life. You come here for the biggest fight -- or, fearing defeat, you stay in Palookaville. ... Never before has a show featured so much flying, with cast members hoisted on wires and moving as fast 50 mph above the audience. Never before has a show featured pyrotechnics so extravagant, they're rarely attempted outside Hollywood. ... However it goes -- monumental flop or monumental hit -- give these people a standing O for thinking big, like New Yorkers. -- Editorial, New York Daily News, Nov. 30, 2010

 

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