The problems with Turn Off The Dark, shittily summarized.
This is an outline for a speech I will have to give for my public speaking class in 45 minutes. It’s written in a manner that it is made for being listened to, not read, but still. It’s also not filled with as much hate as it could be for a blog post, but I want to assure you, there is HATE. Everything about the play is a tragedy. From Taymor, to the lack of respect for comic book fans, to U2 (fuck them, They are the second worst mainstream act out there. Fucking I can’t stand them, the shitfucks.) So, yeah.
Spiderman Turn Off the Dark: A now $70million + Broadway musical about the web slinger that was conceived in 2007 has suffered many problems. The music has been written by Bono and The Edge, and was being directed by Julie Taymor, of Lion King on Broadway fame, but she left the project as of last night. Needless to say, the play has been riddled with problems. The multiple delays, the staggering amount of cast injuries, the near universal negative reviews from critics, and how insulting it is to fans of Spiderman in the first place, this isn’t the Masterpiece that was first envisioned.
After original production delays, the play’s final release date was set for February 18th 2010. The play has not opened to the public yet. Due to lack of funds, the play was pushed back with an unknown release date, until it was finally announced that December 21st 2010 would be the release date. Due to various reasons, the play’s grand opening, as they’ve done rehearsals and shows for people within the industry, was pushed back from there till January, then February, then march, and now with the departure of the director and with new writers being hired, and $45 millions dollars more than originally planned, June 2011.
The show itself hasn’t had it’s grand opening yet, but it’s done a fair amount of constantly revised preview screenings. The reviews from professional critics and other viewers alike have been overwhelmingly negative. There were particularly harsh reviews from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and a plethora of personal blogs. The general consensus stated that the sets were beautiful, while every other aspect of the production were horrifying. The music was cited as “douche-rock”, the majority of the costumes as “hideous”, the plot as a “joke”, and, as a whole by the NYT, “ one of the worst productions to ever hit Broadway.” Which may explain why Taymor was essentially fired.
The most serious problem that has occurred within the production of Turn Off The Dark, if you haven’t heard, are the staggering amount of injuries that have taken place to cast members and stuntmen. After two stuntmen were injured in November, one for the second time in which he had broken both his hands and both his feet, the show had to be reviewed by safety inspectors, in which it had 3 violations. Even after these problems were supposedly fixed, which caused a delay, injuries continued to happen. One of the stuntmen fell 2 stories when his zip-line broke, and the first actress to play the main villain, Natalie Mendoza, sustained several injuries before finally quitting the project.
Not just the nerds, but mainstream Broadway critics have trashed the story of Turn Off The Dark! Part of the reason it’s apparently so bad is how far it strays from the story of Spiderman. I could stand up here and list the various inconsistencies that just don’t make sense, but that could take hours. Though, there is one factor I want to point out. The play has a “Geek Chorus”. Within the play, there are 4 “geeks” who oversee the play and make scripted commentary that is supposed to raise the question if they are watching the musical or “Creating it”. Reports of said that the geeks are portrayed as the stereotypical awkward nerd; the type that are “supposed” to be looked down upon. For a story that originated from Geek culture, it certainly does nothing to cater to Spiderman’s fans in the first place.
This speech is confined to 8 minutes, or I’d go into detail. Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark is the most expensive, and one of the most awful, broadway productions in history. From the injuries, high production cost, insulting to nerds, Year and Half long delays, and even after all of that, the horrendous execution of the product, Turn Off The Dark is certainly a dark chapter in broadway history. As both a general human being, and a huge Spidey fan, I’m disappointed.