Spiderman: Turned off the audience

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Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

We’ve been following developments on Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, as the show has drawn nearer (see TV Spot for Spider-Man : Turn Off the Dark and New Info and Images from ‘Spider-Man’ the Musical), and opening day has finally come.

Last night, 60 Minutes did a piece on the Broadway adaptation of Spider-Man. Lesley Stahl delved into development details from footage taken of the musical and set -design process months ago. There are some beautiful scenes of the dancing, the comic book inspired sets and the costumes. The flying scenes are certainly a risky undertaking, and seeing actors hooked to wires as they careened across the theater, to land on a platform in the balcony, still makes me cringe. But as I watched, I thought maybe the risk, the money and the criticism would be worth it. Because what matters isn’t how stiff or clumsy it may look on TV, it’s how the audience feels, sitting in their chairs with villains and a hero in tights swooping over their heads.

But last night, at Foxwoods Theater in NYC was the moment of truth.  The show’s opening went off with a hitch, or two or three, okay, five. According to the New York Times the show was stopped five times, and “Act I ended prematurely, with Spider-Man stuck dangling 10 feet above audience members,” while stage managers grabbed at his feet and the audience laughed.

It looks like the riskiest part of the show, the flying element, is turning out to be the shows money-sucking demise. But surely it’s too soon to call whether or not the Broadway spectacle will actually be a success. It hasn’t, however, done anything to restore faith in skeptical media and fans.

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