Running since November 2010 Despite well-publicized technical issues and performance delays, the supersized musical about Marvel's marvelous superhero finally opened on Broadway.
The Broadway production of Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark closed January 4, 2014. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.
"Spider-Man" had a long and difficult road to opening night. Developed by Julie Taymor (director of Disney's mega-hit "The Lion King") and originally scheduled to open January 2010, the show was postponed nearly a year due to financing issues. Then, after an unprecedented 3-month preview period and several additional opening night cancellations, the producers announced that the show would be re-tooled (without Ms. Taymor's participation), and have an additional month of previews.
Broadway critics reviewed (and generally panned) the show at its planned opening in February 2011. Reviews after the official opening of "Spidey 2.0" in June 2011 were a bit better. The Daily News summed it up pretty well, saying it "is more cohesive, streamlined and funnier than before," and the "acrobatic aerial stunts and flying....are dazzling" but it "is still weighed down by so-so songs."
"Spider-Man" offers discounted tickets ($39 for Tues-Thurs, $49 for Fri-Sun) to Armed Services and Military Service Personnel (active, reservists, retired and veteran), police officers, EMS and firefighters - up to 4 seats, up to two weeks in advance, only at the box office, and subject to availability.
Seating Note: This venue has 3 levels - Orchestra, Dress Circle, and Balcony. For this production, the Dress Circle has been renamed the "Flying Circle." Fasten your seat belts!
Emerging from all [the] tangled drama, Spidey 2.0 is more cohesive, streamlined and funnier than before, and its thrills are still intact - though it is still weighed down by so-so songs. "Spider-Man" isn't a great, gourmet meal, but it's a tasty diversion. The reason to see "Turn Off the Dark" remains. The acrobatic aerial stunts and flying, particularly the 11 o'clock showdown, are dazzling. Unfortunately, songs by Bono and The Edge are a mixed bag and don't match visual splendors. In the end, "Spider-Man" makes for a enjoyable evening that goes down easy. Getting to this point was anything but.
This production is lighter and clearer, if thematically less challenging. It may not be the best thing in theater, but it is far from the worst show in Broadway history. [Consultant] Philip McKinley, and script doctor Aguirre-Sacasa, together with original co-book writer Glenn Berger, have done a credible job in a very short time smoothing out this freak, but bumps remain. The principal cast deserve respect, if not Purple Hearts. The songs, by U2's Bono and The Edge, have been gradually Broadway-ized, or at least de-Edge-ified. That doesn't mean that the music entirely works or is consistent in tone and approach. Some of it is weak.
The show has essentially been turned into a toothless, live-action comic book, with flat dialogue, a generic love match between Peter and Mary Jane Watson and stylized biff-bam-pow action sequences. Even if the action was compelling, the tongue-in-cheek tone would effectively eliminate any drama or excitement. There are lots of wink-wink jokes, even about the show itself...Nothing ever seems to actually be at stake. There is a nifty midair engagement between Spider-Man and the Goblin, but their climactic battle ends with a disappointing fizzle. The musical's score remains unfortunate. It all adds up to the theatrical equivalent of a meal of cotton candy.
After seven months in previews...what is on offer? A loud, garish musical-with-flying about young Peter Parker, a comic-book superhero whose most endearing quality is his modesty. Tsypin's phantasmagorical, perspective-skewing sets, Ishioka's wondrous costumes and Donald Holder's dazzling lighting make "Spider-Man" a feast for the eyes. And yet a new director has done little to improve the muddled mythmaking of Julie Taymor. Berger and a new writer, Aguirre-Sacasa, keep the focus on Peter and his true love, Mary Jane Watson. Their romance is played up even though, as characters, they remain vapid. What was an interesting train wreck is now just an ordinary, if uncommonly expensive, one. The songs still stop the show in its tracks because they're pop songs, not theater songs that get inside the characters while advancing the plot.
So how does the retooled Broadway production fare? It gets full marks for spectacle - Daniel Ezralow's aerial choreography and George Tsypin's sets deserve a curtain call all their own - but only partial credit as musical theater. Sadly, Bono and The Edge's score is a mostly lackluster collection of forgettable tunes that play like U2 B-sides. Admittedly, the plotting has been streamlined and sharpened since previews began...But nothing flows. You don't have to crane your neck to admire many of the lead performances. Though it's undeniably cool to see costumed heroes zip overhead, this Spidey just can't get off the ground.
New York Magazine
I'm sorry to report that the eight-legged, nine-lived megalomusical has deteriorated from mindblowingly misbegotten carnival-of-the-damned to merely embarrassing dud. Spidey 2.0 is indeed leaner and more linear, and its story has been brutally clarified: It's now all too clear how very, very little was there in the first place. Spider-Man violates the first rule of pop fantasy: Never lose the distinction between beautiful simplicity and rank simplemindedness. No amount of mulch or manure can cover up the music, which is, by far, the show's greatest weakness. Spider-Man was a bad Julie Taymor musical; it is now, wholeheartedly, a terrible U2 musical.
New York Post
The show is closer than ever to the bull's eye, but that's not saying much. Visually speaking, the show bears Taymor's outlandish stamp, carried out through the characters' masks, Tsypin's boldly graphic sets and Ishioka's fantastical costumes. Spidey and the Goblin zoom by impressively, close to the audience's heads, but the overall effect is more competent than awe-inspiring, more Six Flags than magic. How weird that this is an extravaganza without a single genuine showstopper. When it revels in U2's trademark soaring, romantic grandiosity, the score easily fills the cavernous Foxwoods Theatre. But some numbers land with a thud.
New York Times
This singing comic book is no longer the ungodly, indecipherable mess it was in [its previous version]. It's just a bore. "Spider-Man" now bears only a scant resemblance to the muddled fever dream that was. It is instead not unlike one of those perky, tongue-in-cheek genre-spoof musicals. [The show] retains the most spectacular-looking centerpieces from the Taymor version. But they do seem out of proportion to what has become a straightforward children's entertainment with a mildly suspenseful story, two-dimensional characters, unapologetically bad jokes and melodious rock tunes. The flying went off without a hitch on this occasion. The potential magic is undercut, though, by the very visible wires and harnesses that facilitate these aerodynamics.
"Spider-Man" is still no great shakes as theater. But as commercial spectacle, I can honestly say now it flies. Dazzling as it all is, we get a mishmash of styles with a connect-the-dots feel that tends to undercut any real emotional investment in the characters. And yet there is a beating heart, thanks mostly to the fine-tuning of Peter Parker and Mary Jane's romance. Bono and the Edge's score, so unimpressive before, has been beefed up. A few of the ballads are quite haunting. The performances have deepened. The great problem still plaguing "Spider-Man" is that it can't decide what it is - a theme park attraction, a Broadway musical or a circus.
The new "Spider-Man" is cuter and more cautious than its predecessor, more in line with the winking musical adaptations of famous films and brands that have lined the theater district in recent years. The new [version] is more of an overt crowd-pleaser, but its most affecting features reflect the serious, arty aspirations of the original. Composer/lyricists Bono and The Edge['s] most memorable songs offer the same emotional and melodic sweep that distinguishes their work in U2.