Saturday, January 15, 2011

SPIDER-MAN ON BROADWAY

The show is open. People are lined up every night outside the box office. It costs between $70 and $190 for a ticket.

Discount tickets for $79 to $99 are available on week nights. In "Variety" magazine's weekly gross announcements for last week, Spider-Man Turn off the Dark grossed $1.9. million, with $121 as the average price for a seat.

Touted as the most lavish musical ever mounted on Broadway, the show has mechanical lifts, flying machines, and very high-tech costumes. It's dangerous, some of the "kinks" apparently have not yet been ironed out.

An onstage accident December 20, when the leading actor, felt 35 feet, has left Nick Wyman, the head of the Actors' Equity Association, "disturbed and distraught." Aside from the leading man, another performer has broken both wrists; another has fractured both feet; the leading actress, hit by a rope, suffered a concussion that took her out of the show for more than ten days.

Responding to criticism that the producers of the musical, haven't done enough to protect the show's performers, Wyman said, "Equity members have insisted on further safety protocols, backups and fail-safes."

Christopher Tierney, dancer-actor, leading man, who suffered a fractured back four broken ribs, concussion, and other abrasions, attended the show on January 7th. He was able to walk in, visit fellow actors backstage, and embracing them, Tierney promised that he will be back in the show "very soon."

Tierney has just completed an initial course of physical therapy treatments at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. (When my back was broken in an automobile accident, I went to Rusk Institute three times a week for a year.) Tierney wears a back brace, and has 10 screws in his spine. Many months of therapy will be necessary before the 32-year-old Tierney can discard the brace. Yes, he may be able to dance again, but his playing the lead again in this show is unlikely.

Spider-man Turn off the Dark is in previews, and is set to open February 7, 2011.

Each night, before the curtain goes up, the stage manager announces that representatives from Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, (the main federal agency), are on hand backstage to make sure the stunts are in full compliance with safety requirements, and that New York State Department of Labor has okayed the production,

The show is framed by four teenagers, who appear to be working on a script in front of the stage. As they talk about the story, actors appear and perform what the kids are discussing -- acting out what the audience may have seen in comics, or in the "Spider-man" films.

Director Julie Taymor has delivered some splashy, whimsical, creative numbers, similar to what she did in Broadway's The Lion King. The most spectacular number, at present, is the dance of the golden spiders, who swing from 40-foot golden curtains (but it's similar to Cirque du Soleil acrobats). Fights between "Spidey" and "Green Goblin," as they fly above the audience, are unexpected and breathtaking, but only half the audience can actually see them, since the fights take place high at the back of the theater.

Right now, in terms of music, songs, and production numbers, the show needs more work. A trusted director-friend of ours said he was impressed for ten minutes or so, as he could be at Circe du Soleil, but then, he was restless --"There wasn't a story or numbers to keep me involved."

Will we see it? We might, but based on the reports we've heard. I don't think "Spider-Man the Musical" is our cup of tea.

5 comments:

Linda Phillips said...

and now the opening has been re-scheduled for sometime in March. I know people who have seen previews and really panned it. I know I would never see it if I were in NY.

I wish them luck,but feel very sad that this circus, with all of its gimmicks, is what now passes for a Broadway musical. I hope that no one else is seriously injured!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with regards to the safety of those actors. There needs to be better safety measures in place. As far as the financial significance that's gone into this production, I agree also that it's been beyond costly. Perhaps though people are not aware that behind the production as it stands today, there is a group of people working round the clock to make this happen... As it should. There is one man in particular whom I can confirm has the heart of the world beating inside of his own chest. The dreams he's had since childhood rode on Broadway. He tucked away his passions though to first raise a family. Now that he's able, he's worked harder than anybody behind the scenes to get this show up, running, in perfect condition. To every good, there is a bad. It's the balance of life. In my own personal ( not professional ) opinion, I'd say even purely for the history it's already made, that Spider-Man is not something to be missed. Or, for that matter, taken for granted. A lot of people have and continue to work VERY, very hard.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous,
People continuing 'to work Very, very hard' will not make a difference if there is no story to be told. The safety of the actors needed to be built into these tricks long before now, in my opinion. If making money is more important than peoples safety you've got a problem.

Carola said...

I was going to say that it seems as if they are trying to create another blockbuster like Lion King, because tourists will want to come to it forever, and will spend lots of money. But after reading Anonymous's comment, I have to admit that there are serious artistic endeavors behind this. I just wish it wasn't so dangerous for the actors.

Kevin Daly said...

I want to see this but the injuries make me wary, as do those vultures seeking their bloodlust. I have yet to meet someone who liked it (so far, one didn't hate it - that's the best notice I've heard). I am starting to wonder if the $65 million is mostly insurance coverage...

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