Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark

The moment you have all been waiting for (well, some of you :-)- my review of the new musical "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark". I have been wanting to see this musical since I heard about it a few months ago not due to the "technical difficulties" they were having (eg. actors falling from the sky), but for the MUSIC. The soundtrack (both lyrics and music) are written by Bono and the Edge of U2- only my favorite band of all time. I managed to get ORCHESTRA row H tickets to their Thursday night show and let me tell you that while it was the most expensive musical that I saw ($90 for my ticket), it was my favorite musical of the 3 I saw on this trip, and one of the best I have ever seen.

The musical is still technically in "previews", meaning that there are a few things that they are still working through to make sure that it is the absolute perfection demanded of Broadway. I was prepared for this but knowing that Bono and the Edge had gone to see a performance the week before I did, I figured that if it was good enough for them, then it was good enough for me :-) Opening night was supposed to be Feb. 7 but they pushed it back until mid March because they didn't feel ready to open. The show was INCREDIBLE and in my opinion, near perfection, up until the last scene. But first, let me tell you more about the show.

The musical expands upon the movie and adds several new elements. The first, which I don't particularly care for was these additional college students who were creating the story of Spiderman. They introduced my FAVORITE character of the show- Arachne- based upon the Greek myth. She had the most INCREDIBLE voice and some of the most beautiful numbers. The choreography of her being in the air and spinning webs made for some gorgeous aerial numbers. The rest of the story is much like the movie- with how he becomes Spiderman, MJ, and the villians that he faces, but all of the costumes, staging, and flying work was unbelievable. Multiple times throughout the show, I had Spiderman and the villians flying over my head. There are several stuntmen who are Spiderman and do amazing fight scenes and flying. I really was just blown away by the musical up until the last scene. And that made me realize why they are still in previews- and why they extended the previews.

The primary singer/actor of Spiderman was only ok- my main issue with him was that he sometimes tried to have a gravely rock star voice, but that is not his natural voice so it just sounds awkward. He sounded better on the higher notes when he really sang. But, he was definitely the weakest link in the final scene. They want HIM (not the stuntmen) to finally fly around the audience showing his face and being in the normal human form. He was in the harness around his waist with a wire supporting him on both sides. When he started to fly, he grabbed one of the wires with BOTH HANDS and was literally holding on for dear life! It didn't look heroic but actually quite pathetic! It was painful to watch him because he literally just seemed to be barely keeping it together while flying around. It totally detracted from the show because everything else was just top notch. Thus, the reason why it is still in previews for awhile.

The show was just so good. I absolutely LOVED it- particularly the music and I cannot WAIT for the soundtrack to come out (unfortunately, it will still be several months). I would definitely see this musical again- I would have during the trip but it was all sold out- and I highly recommend it. As far as where it ranks among the musicals that I have seen, I would have to say that Phantom of the Opera is still my all time favorite, but this is definitely up there among the top shows that I have ever seen.

P.S. Funny story from the show. The usher right by my section was super talkative to me and a few people behind me. There is absolutely NO photography allowed at all in the theater even before and after the show. He said that a couple of weeks ago, during one of the performances, some one had a camera out and so he went over and tapped that person on the shoulder and told him that he had to put away his camera. The guy turned around and it was Jim Carrey! Several patrons later came up to this usher and said how happy they were that celebrities did not get special treatment/were exempt from keeping the rules of the theater.

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