“Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark” will be Dark for a Few Weeks

Broadway Poster

Today, in the New York Times, Patrick Healy reports that Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark is shutting down for a few weeks for an overhaul. (Please God, let’s make sure that shoe number gets cut.)

Here’s a snippet from the article:

“The producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” are planning a significant overhaul of the $65 million Broadway musical that would involve shutting down performances for two to three weeks, as well as delaying its scheduled opening on March 15 for about three months, according to people who work on “Spider-Man” or were briefed on the producers’ plans.”

I’ve been hearing rumors about this for weeks, but never heard a sure-fire date on when it was shutting down. While the New York Times is reporting only for 2-3 weeks, I’m figuring it’s going to be for longer than that. I mean, how much overhaul can they do in just 2-3 weeks, especially if songs aren’t finished, or scenes aren’t already revised and written.

I think it’s a smart move, but a move that is making Broadway history. I’ve never known a show (in all of Broadway history) to have this many previews (we’re up to 99 on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011), let alone to shut the show down for weeks and then re-start back up again. Generally, if the show has this many problems, it’s over. Done and gone. But not Spider-man, it’s holding on by a string.

Julie Taymor & U2's The Edge & Bono

Julie Taymor, the show’s director and book writer, was quoted saying, “Anyway, what I’m told is that ‘Spider Man‘ will simply not deal with the Tony Awards and their April 28th deadline. Instead, work is being done to rewrite the show as much as possible within its mechanical parameters. “Bono and Edge are writing new songs,” says my source. They do, contrary to rumors, have some good songs already in “Rise Above,” “Say Now,” “Boy Falls From the Sky” and a couple of others. But between the songs and the story fixes, the show will not open officially until June-right around Tony time. I am told that the feeling is that week to week the show is selling well enough ($1.55 mil last week.) that opening now, getting panned again, and then getting snubbed by the Tonys-which is likely-is worse than just staying the course and continuing to make improvements.”

I think Taymor’s assessment of their current situation is the smartest thing anyone has said in regards to this entire mess.

And who knows, if she’s going to be around much longer. NY1 is reporting she’s left the production.

When I saw the show, back in January (man, that feels like ages ago), I said it has the opportunity to be a great show if they made some bold changes. In respect to the technical demands of the show, I don’t think they would be able to make these bold changes without shutting down the show, so I’m happy with this news. The technicality of this show is awesome, while the book and music struggles. I even supported Spider-man when I was interviewed by “London’s Biggest Conversation (LBC 97.3)” – a London FM talk-show.

Here’s another idea for the producers while the show is dark: Why don’t you record a Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark EP? Pick a few great songs (like the ones Julie Taymor mentioned) and sale them at the theatre and/or on iTunes. It could be a limited/digital release only. It would hopefully get people humming the songs and maybe some airplay – especially if U2 recorded them. Let’s get people interested in the music, and not just the technical aspect of the show.

In any case, we want to know how long you think Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark will shutter for. 2 weeks? A month? Longer? Will it return bigger, better and brighter or will the whole thing blow up at the new Foxwoods Theatre?

Take the poll below:

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