No Broadway production has ever been more ecstatic at the news that it has been frozen more than the much maligned ‘Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.’ Frozen being theatre speak for the end of endless rewrites, cast shuffling and otherwise general chaos that has consumed ‘Spiderman’ for most of its 177 preview performances. Yes you heard correctly — 177 which is in fact a record for a Broadway show. All that remains is for the musical to officially break ground Tuesday, June 14.
Philip William McKinley, who took over directing responsibilities from the ousted Julie Taymor (“Lion King“), said of the latest achievement, “I assure you that there are a lot of very excited and relieved people at the Foxwoods Theater today, but no one will be celebrating until Tuesday night.”
Critics have been given the green light to shuffle in Thursday, Friday and Saturday to prepare their take on the new production for release following the Tuesday opening. The producers are hoping for smoother sailing than the torrent of negative reviews that surfaced during “Spiderman’s” preview run back in February. At the time, the negativity rampantly fed on itself with the numerous production delays, actor injuries and defections. “Spiderman” was shut down back in late-April so the producers could go back to the drawing board and retool the musical. What resulted was a new song from U2 principles Bono and the Edge as well as a facelift on the show’s second act.
The musical current sits at an eye-popping $70 million spent to date that dwarfs any previous Broadway show by a factor of 2. The previous incarnation helmed by Taymor brought in a healthy $26.7 million from November 2010 through April 2011 though it did little more than cover the production’s operating costs over that time. Since “Spiderman” has resumed previews, it has earned $1.2 million per week. Producers are hoping to see that figure settle out closer to $1.7 million after its opening to help its investors finally see a faint light at the bottom of this financial blackhole.
Anyone want to venture a guess at how many comic grenades will be lobbed a Spidey during Sunday’s Tony Awards?