A First Look at “Spiderman: Turn off the Dark”

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A sneak peek at Broadway’s latest phenomenon

Several months of stalking around the Foxwoods Theatre finally paid off when I got to see the show two weeks ago and then interviewed the staff afterwards. Reeve Carney (whose band, Carney, is playing the Bowery Ballroom Valentine's Day) was friendly - I watched him sign playbills and asked if he'd ever imagined himself as Spiderman.

"You know, I never even thought I'd be on Broadway," he said, looking me straight in the eyes, "But I did have a dream six years ago, that I was Spiderman flying through New York City."

True? Maybe. Fascinating? Yes.

What about the fact that they have delayed the show four times already? I asked Carney if they will really be ready on March 15th?

"Yes, absolutely. I don't think there's anything else we could do. We will be adding a scene later, but that shouldn't be too hard to incorporate," he said.

After three months of previews, reported injuries, and government investigations, the scandal-ridden musical, "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark," lands on Broadway on March 15. With music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge, and direction by Broadway titan Julie Taymor, this $65 million extravaganza has a lot to live up to.

The production is based on the Marvel comic book series and follows the conflicted Peter Parker (Reeve Carney) as he balances his crime-fighting exploits with his personal relationships. His arch nemesis, the Green Goblin, not only threatens to destroy New York City, but also compromises his relationship with the beautiful Mary Jane (Jennifer Damiano).

The endearing Reeve Carney leads the forty-two person cast. His unique rock star quality voice combined with his awkward swagger makes a perfect Peter Parker. He harmonizes impeccably with the powerful voice of his co-star, Jennifer Damiano (star of "Next to Normal"), and together they have great chemistry. Bringing a whole different meaning to the word villainy, TV Carpio's (Prudence in Across the Universe) performance as spider goddess Arachne is captivating. Her ethereal voice is bewitchingly beautiful, and her dark presence dominates the stage.

The standout star of the entire production is neither Carney nor Damiano—it's the score. Bono and The Edge bring their internationally recognized musical genius to the stage in a way that can induce goose bumps from even the most thick-skinned viewers. Several cast members praised Bono for his professionalism.

"Bono was humble yet specific," said Patrick Page (the Green Goblin). "He gave you a lot of room to work. He was really great."

When asked whether he thought the experience of flying would ever lose its charm, Carney smiled and said, "It's like a roller coaster; I don't think it'll ever get old."

What is old, though, is the story. Spiderman fights the bad guys and wins. The plot itself is familiar and at times, the plot is unclear but the rich visuals and music complements the fast-paced plot. The sets and lights are equally astounding, more visually rich than "Phantom or "Wicked."

Students can score $30 tickets by showing up to the Foxwoods Theatre box office when it opens at 10 AM on Monday through Saturday and 12 PM on Sundays. Many in the press have chalked this show up to be an overzealous flop but it's possible that "Spiderman" is the most ambitious Broadway production yet. Flop or fantastic, to not experience it would be regrettable.

MiscLuke Anderson