You’ve seen them save the world on the big screen and they’ve made you laugh on television, but some of your favorite actors have a campy little secret: they have big musical backgrounds! Some stars like Hugh Jackman and Anna Kendrick have showcased their singing skills on the big screen, while some other up-and-coming actors might be hoping that they aren’t lumped in with their old Broadway pals. And then there are stars like Kate Winslet and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who had runs at overseas pop charts.
Before Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark even held its first preview performance last November, it had the notorious distinction of being one of the most troubled productions ever to hit the Great White Way. The $65 million-plus show had been languishing in development since 2002 and, after a number of delays, had lost two of its biggest stars, Evan Rachel Wood and the Tony Award winning Alan Cumming (who were set to play Mary Jane Watson and the Green Goblin, respectively). Things got worse, though, as soon as the play opened to the public; critics savaged the material, jokes about the production became an unending supply of grist for the late night comedy mill, and, worst of all, multiple performers ended up in the hospital following horrible on-stage injuries.
Yet, as cliché tells us, the show must go on! Except this time, it didn’t. Production of the show –which, it should be noted, was breaking Broadway box office gross records at the time– halted in March when the visionary creator and director of the play, Julie Taymor, was unceremoniously booted from the project after she resisted making wholesale changes to the show that the producers were internally describing “Plan X.” As The Edge, who co-wrote the music and songs with his U2 bandmate Bono, told the New York Times today, “When Plan X was presented, [Taymor] said: ?That could never be achieved in a three-week period. You?d need months to do that, and it probably won?t work anyway for X, Y, and Z reasons.? At that moment, when that was her response, the producers felt that whatever Julie would do with a hiatus was more of a polishing job than a top-to-bottom rethink of the show.? Even Bono admitted that “the first time I loved the play was two-and-a-half weeks ago.”
Why do we bring all this up? Well, after Spidey was benched back in April while the show underwent heavy top-to-bottom reconstruction, the revamped Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark finally opened at the Foxwoods Theater tonight (and the official soundtrack, featuring new songs from Bono and The Edge, also hit shelves today; it’s currently sitting at #12 on iTunes Top Albums chart). Luckily for us, we were invited to a sneak preview of the retooled extravaganza last week, and you know what?
IT WAS VERY EXCITING!