Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a Broadway musical directed by Julie Taymor and based on Marvel Comics’ web-slinging crime fighter hit the stage last November 14, but the opening set is scheduled on December 21. With production costs reaching a whopping $52 million, the show has been touted as the most expensive and technically ambitious Broadway show to date.
For many comic book fans who still couldn’t believe that Spidey now has a musical adaptation, well here it is. Our favorite neighborhood superhero from comics has conquered yet another form of entertainment media, which already include live-action television, animation, Japanese tokusatsu, and even a number of educational series.
As early as now, advanced reviews for the Spider-Man Broadway musical play suggest that it’s going to be a huge success. Most of those who watched the preview performances say that the visual and technical effects are something to look forward to. On the other side of the fence though, there are critics who claim that the show is lacking on all non-visual aspects. Some reviewers even declare that the musical is all about putting the most extravagant show up on stage and has little to do with the Spider-Man mythos.
In defense of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, many of the negative comments were made based on the early performances of the show. For commentaries that really matter, I guess we have to wait until after the opening set is done. But ask any devoted Spider-Man fan and he’ll tell you that the verdict is fixed – this Broadway show is going to be the best comic book superhero musical play ever. And did I mention that music and lyrics were done by Bono and The Edge?
In the end, comic book fans and Broadway musical spectators can only wish that this show does not weaken their respective genres. Also, I can only hope that the guys that hand out the Tony Awards are also avid comic book fans and that they look at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as a dynamic fusion of a post-modern medium and a classical standard.