“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” which, at $65 million, is Broadway’s most expensive production ever, turned out to be an “epic flop” as theatergoers complained about a “dull score”, “baffling script,” and numerous, embarrassing technical failures. The highly anticipated U2-penned musical, which held its inaugural show over the weekend at the Great White Way’s Foxwoods Theater, had to be stopped four times in the first act alone, due to various equipment malfunctions.
First, a radioactive spider named “Arachne” played by actress Natalie Mendoza became stuck in the air over the crowd for seven or eight minutes as the crew frantically tried to fix the problem. Eventually the stage manager came over the loudspeaker saying, “Give it up for Natalie Mendoza, who’s hanging in the air!”
The next major snag was encountered as Spider-Man, played by Reeve Carney, was supposed to rescue Mary Jane from the top of the Chrysler Building. However, part of the building was missing, and Mary Jane wasn’t even there. With a confused crowd looking on, Spider-Man flew in with Mary Jane in his arms, and set her down on the stage. Instead of flying off and creating a dramatic end to the first act, Carney became stuck in the air over the crowd, and swung back and forth for several minutes as stagehands attempted to grab his feet. This resulted in an early intermission that lasted over 40 minutes.
Another embarrassing moment came when the Green Goblin, played by Patrick Page, performed a musical number on the piano and was forced to play for an excessive period of time as stagehands ran around in the open attempting to fix faulty equipment. Thankfully Page began riffing on the tune “I’ll Take Manhattan,” which audience member Steve Poizner said was “the best part of the whole show.”
In all, the production lasted nearly 3 1/2 hours, with theatergoers angrily shouting during the downtime: “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel like a guinea pig tonight!”, and “I feel this was a dress rehearsal!”
The production is slated to officially open on January 11, 2011, however, technical difficulties aside, the show’s operating expenses of $1 million a week coupled with complaints about the “convoluted plot” and disappointing score could result in serious trouble turning a profit.