That’s right. In case you haven’t heard, an entire Broadway production is being created around Peter Parker and his famous alter ego, Spider-man.
A handful of tantalizing images taken by iconic photographer, Annie Leibovitz, are out in the December issue of Vogue. The photos, crisp and lively, glow with so much color they look like promos for the next Spidey film. But they’re not. The actors in this production won’t be vying for Oscars. This year it’s the Tony they’ll be after.
Comic book to film is one thing (a natural progression really) but comic book to Broadway? How will they pull that off? And will it even translate on stage? According to a New York Times article it’s going to take a Hollywood-sized budget, a lot of delays and flying equipment that has to be repeatedly tweaked before it can pass safety requirements from the state Department of Labor. Okay, I’m intrigued, if not still slightly skeptical.
But in a clip on the production’s website (www.spidermanonbroadway.com), Director Julie Taymore defuses any concerns we might have about sarcastic, gymnastic, fantastic Spider-man’s manhood: “One of our biggest challenges is of course he has to fly, but he won’t be singing in tights. I just want to make that very clear to the audience.” Taymore goes on to explain that Peter Parker sings (music and lyrics by The Edge and Bono!), but as soon as the mask goes on, Spider-man’s first priority is fightin’ bad guys.
And that brings us to what I see as one of the strong points of the production, the casting of Peter Parker. He’ll be played by indie rock singer Reeve Carney, and I think it’s a great choice. Given Peter Parker’s tortured character, torn by the responsibility to flight villains while still keeping those he loves safe and never revealing his secret, it seems to me that a thin, brooding hipster would capture this dark, conflicting tone better than Toby Maguire’s fresh-faced all American look.
Those attending the production can expect to see not just the Green Goblin but a slew of other handpicked villains in hopes of relaying “the Spider-man experience,” as Taymore puts it. I’m not convinced that they aren’t trying to cram too much into one show, and hopefully it will have more success than Shrek: the Musical, another multi-million dollar Broadway production. But if you flew me to New York City, I’d even buy my own ticket to the show and happily settle down in the balcony to give Spider-man:Turn off the Dark a chance. The show, which was originally slated for February, is now set to open November 28th at Foxwoods Theater (hopefully).