Spider-Man on Broadway: Stuck in a Timing Web


The ubiquitous financial woes of the country have even landed on one of the most famous city streets known for lending an escape for theater-goers to “forget all their troubles…forget all their cares…and go…” Well, a little north of downtown – Broadway!

The much anticipated musical featuring the music of the U2 band members Bono and The Edge, “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark,” has been delayed once again due to scheduling complications and costs. Lead producer Michael Cohl released a statement Friday noting, “Shows like ours, that embrace the challenge of opening on Broadway without an out-of-town tryout, often need to adjust their schedules along the way“. (Reuters)

However, this may be optimistic clairvoyance because the challenge the team is up against is a record breaking $60 million dollar undertaking which includes a 41-member cast, 18 orchestra members, not to mention Cirque du Soleil areal performers rocketing through the air at 40 mph.

It all sounds wonderful from an audience member’s point of view… However, from a producer’s point of view, this can very well look like a nightmare with a battery of obstacles to overcome. Here’s an example: Any and every extravagant stunt that takes place over the audience must be approved by New York Department of Labor inspectors. Of course, injuries such as multiple wrist breaks that have occurred during rehearsals are not expected to expedite the process.

Until now, the costliest musicals to date listed in descending order are as follows: “Shrek the Musical,” which opened in 2008 with a ticket of $25 million (which did not give back the way investors had hoped); “The Phantom of the Opera,” which opened in 1988 had a list price of $12 million (translates to approx. $22 million today); and lastly, “Wicked,” that opened theater doors in 2003 with a price tag of $14 million. Both of the last two shows mentioned are still getting it done on Broadway and are considered two of the most successful shows in Broadway history. (AP)

As it stands now, “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark,” which was originally scheduled to preview performances on November 14th with an official open date four days before Christmas, will now be pushed back to begin previews on November 28th with the new grand opening night, January 11th.

Timing is certainly everything when attracting crowds to Broadway and hopefully the less than desirable timing of Spiderman’s opening will not result in an empty theater full of webs.

{image from Associated Press}

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