Sunday night, "60 Minutes" aired a behind the scenes look at "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," which also began previews this past weekend. You can see a preview of the "60 Minutes" piece behind the cut, or click here to see the whole thing. Important things to note after seeing this:
- Swarm is in fact really in this, and that still cracks me up.
- Reeve Carney wears a leather jacket at one point that is clearly meant as a stand in for the Spider-Man Costume, and I want it.
- I don't care. I think Swiss Miss looks cool.
- Lesley Stahl likes kissing Bono’s ass.
- Flying costs an extra $35 million.
I am even more excited to see the play after seeing this. I was fascinated by the discussion of how the aerial stunts were accomplished, and the more we see of the sets and costumes, the more dazzled I am by them. It remains to be seen whether "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will be an instant classic that does justice to the proud traditions of both Broadway and Spider-Man, but it sure as hell looks like it's going to be something that's worth seeing.
We decided to get a second opinion, so we checked with Brian Crowley, and he seems to agree with me. In an email, he said: ''Fans have a tendency to want to fit external material into established canon... that's kind of silly with this. This should be looked at as a ride or a videogame... it's something very new and it looks like tremendous fun." He went on to add: "The thing that really blew my mind... the acrobatics... in one scene you see Spider-man leaping from the stage and landing in a Romita Sr. crouch in front of Leslie Stahl seated in the audience. This would make me lose my mind in sheer joy as child."
Me too, Brian.
Of all the teases and previews we have seen to date, I am least impressed and excited by the music. It still sounds a bit too much like U2 for me, but that's probably a selling point for many people. (It was for Brian.) I'm more of the mind that the songs in a musical should be in a style best suited to the character singing them, rather than just the style typical of whomever wrote them. I have not heard them properly performed by the cast as part of the show yet though, so my opinion could completely change on that.
The biggest source of trepidation at this point are the reviews from the first preview show. We're going to ignore the New York Post, which has taken on the role of the Daily Bugle in this particular Spider-Man saga, but that doesn't change the fact that there were still several technical glitches in the first performance that need to be worked out. The New York Times story has a more reasonable look at the problems the show had and the audience reaction. (I've been staying away from full reviews, because I would like to see the play myself with a completely open mind, but there are plenty out there that tackle the story and performances for those interested.) Personally, I'm not too worried about the delays and whatnot. These are previews and it's rare for the earliest of them to be free of problems. The woman who loudly complained that she felt like a guinea pig should have been perfectly aware that that's basically what she was.
Of course, I might be singing a completely different tune if everything's not sorted out by the time I see "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" on December 26th." But if the play turns out to be hilariously bad, well that's entertaining too.