Sunday, June 07, 2009

Exclusive!! Spider-Man Musical Info (sort of)

First, I'd like to apologize to my three or four regular readers for being so slack with the updates recently. Been slammed dealing with the fallout from the unfortunate cancellation of the syndicated movie show I produce, "REEL TALK." We'll hopefully have some good news regarding the next incarnation of the show with Jeffrey Lyons and Alison Bailes. Until then, I promise I'll stay on top of this blog much more than I have, sharing whatever news and opinions I stumble, bumble and fumble across.

To show you I mean business, I have some very interesting news to report today, regarding the upcoming Broadway musical, "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." There has been NOTHING about this show, outside of the recent casting call and the news that Julie Taymor will direct from a score by U2's Bono and The Edge. So imagine my surprise this morning when I snagged a peek at some very early footage of the show.

It was completely by accident, and not due to any clever journalism on my part. I happened to be attending the Tony Awards rehearsal at Radio City Music Hall with my wife. It's sort of an annual tradition for Cindi and I, since we're both big theatre fans. They run through the entire show, full cast performances, announcing the nominees, congratulating fake 'winners'...even the host , Neil Patrick Harris, ran through his quips.

So during the down time in what will be the commercial breaks, they run various video clips. Some are old TV spots for long-forgotten Broadway shows like "Timbuktu." Others are promos for upcoming shows. Imagine my fanboy surprise when an image of Spider-Man showed up on the massive Radio City screens.

Then they played a montage reel that showed Bono, Edge and Taymor discussing the show and what they plan/hope it will be. They had video of actors in harnesses flying through the air on wires, along with some special effects that looked to be in the early stages. There was also a shot of a drawing of Spidey's Rogue's Gallery, featuring familiar faces such as Electro, Carnage and Sandman.

I couldn't make out the others because I was busy taking pictures with my wife's iPhone. Apologies for the distant pix but i was sitting in the rear mezzanine.

Now, very little is actually known about the show's storyline. In fact, other than the fact it will involve the 'With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility' angle, NOTHING is known. We don't even know who's going to be playing Peter Parker (although Evan Rachel Wood has done some public campaigning for the role of Mary Jane Watson).

But there are a few kernels of info we can glean from the video shown at the Tony rehearsal. For one, it looks to have visual effects unlike anything Broadway's ever seen (makes sense, with the estimated $40 million price tag). There were two shots shown (one of which I caught in a pic) that featured these effects.

More important, I glimpsed one guy flying around with some kind of wingspan, not in any way resembling how Spidey would look web-swinging around town. My first instinct was this was a look at one of the villains in the show.

The Vulture, maybe? Morbius?? The Green Goblin perhaps, although it did not look like someone sitting on any type of Glider.

Obviously this is all speculation, but I can certainly picture a story that includes several familiar foes tackling Webhead on stage. Regardless, this is one of the more fascinating events to appear on the pop culture radar in some time, because of the sheer risk involved. I can easily see this being either a tremendous success or a humongous flop.

Julie Taymor is a visionary director. Forget her brilliant work with "Across the Universe." if you've ever seen "The Lion King" on Broadway, you know she's capable of incredible stage reinterpretation of iconic movies. She has some heavy duty help with half of U2 in charge of the songs. Will that be enough to make a memorable musical out of our beloved Web-Spinner?

"Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark" opens in February, 2010.

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