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November 23, 2010 11:09 AM   Subscribe

This week, the world will finally get its first look at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. But the most expensive musical in Broadway history has already had an epic run—battling bankruptcy, broken wrists, unruly technology, and one comic villain disguised as a Post columnist. And at the center of it all, perched over her “God mike,” is the relentless and inventive Julie Taymor. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese (49 comments total)

 
> one comic villain disguised as a Post columnist

Without knowing anything about this, I hope it was Tim Curry. As villians go I don't know of anyone who enjoys being evil so cheerily. If there is a next life I do so hope Tim gets to be an Evil Overlord of somewhere. He's earned it and he deserves it.
posted by jfuller at 11:18 AM on November 23, 2010 [6 favorites]




Uplit like a Renaissance virgin by the glow of her iPad..."

Give me a B+ in Creative Writing, did you, Mrs. Finkelstein? Well Look At Me Now!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:22 AM on November 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm an unabashed U2 fan but even for me I think this was a bad idea. I do like the one track that was released from their A Clockwork Orange musical, but that era has always been my favorite by far.
posted by kmz at 11:26 AM on November 23, 2010


"Turn Off The Dark"? I have a feeling it's going to be more like "Turn Down The Suck."
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:27 AM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The show already includes nine Spidey clones who do the most difficult stunts and sometimes serve as his backup dancers

DONE.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:28 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Turn Off The Dark" is embarrassingly bad as a title.
posted by empath at 11:29 AM on November 23, 2010


Well, it beats "Get on Your Boots."
posted by blucevalo at 11:31 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The show already includes nine Spidey clones...

Not sure if the writer is aware that Spider-Man clones are a sensitive issue in the community.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:31 AM on November 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


As truly awful as this sounds I was more aghast at the mention of her doing a version of The Tempest with Helen Mirren as "Prospera".
posted by ecurtz at 11:34 AM on November 23, 2010


Superhero-themed musicals are just another way in which the malign influence of blockbuster movies hurts us all.

This entire thing sounds like a New Yorker humor piece that blew a gasket and is spinning ever more violently out of control. Look out, vaguely-funny obscure cartoon!
posted by JHarris at 11:34 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe this idea was given this much money. Then again, that's what I said about Avatar, and it still made a pant-load.
posted by codacorolla at 11:43 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


As truly awful as this sounds I was more aghast at the mention of her doing a version of The Tempest with Helen Mirren as "Prospera"

The movie was fantastic.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:46 AM on November 23, 2010


I can't believe this idea was given this much money. Then again, that's what I said about Avatar, and it still made a pant-load.

It didn't cost Fox $1 million a week to keep Avatar in theaters.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:52 AM on November 23, 2010


Hopefully the plot will include young Petey reluctantly embracing musical theater -- and vowing revenge on all involved in its production -- after his beloved Uncle Ben is killed by a gaffer.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:53 AM on November 23, 2010


All right, I get it now. Cirque du Soleil style acrobatics and music (it all sounds vaguely Enya/Clannad Celtic or World Beat, sounds that U2 have played with in the past). Costume allows for multiple people to play the same character, increasing special effects possibilities. Massive special effects by somebody with an outstanding eye for visuals. To some extent it matters not a jot if the story is strong or if its true to the character or not - the recent history of Broadway suggests that spectacle plus music equals cash.

I cautiously predict that this will be huge.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:53 AM on November 23, 2010


Thanks for nothing, Julie Taymor. I thought Across the Universe was pretty low but now you get even worse!
posted by mkb at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2010


(This doesn't mean my nerd rage about the title or messing with the character is reduced one jot. Jot Jot Jot.)
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:55 AM on November 23, 2010


"We can't tell you what this is..."

Julie Taymor is an incredible designer. Her costuming and set design has been a pretty big influence on contemporary theater and film. Some people don't like her style, but it is certainly engaging. She has a gift at being able to enhance a story visually, so that the story as a whole is deeper and more interesting than it would be otherwise.

But her directing is sub-par at best. She relies too much on the bombastic, which can work well in an opera, but there are never small things, small little beautiful things in her work. Her film work is all show, no story. She has nothing new to say; she's just very good at making other people's thing beautiful. That's not a knock against her. I just wish she'd stick to what she's best at, and collaborate with other talented people who are better at things like directing. After all, theater and film are probably the most collaborative art forms in existence.

If Taymor and Pixar could collaborate on a film, with Taymor in charge of visual design, and somebody else running the screenplay and direction, it could be brilliant.

As for this Spider-Man: what little I've seen of the sets look cool, but the costumes don't look any better than stuff that's already been in the comics. Rent plus Cirque du Soleil doesn't necessarily equal anything good.
posted by nushustu at 11:56 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Official 'Spider Man Turn Off the Dark' website.
posted by ericb at 12:09 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Official 'Spider Man Turn Off the Dark' website.

That is hilariously bad! Not screen optimized, so I'm missing a third of it on my netbook screen, it keeps refreshing for some reason, ugly design with no cohesion, abominably huge, a thousand things happening at once...

And then there's the website!
posted by codacorolla at 12:13 PM on November 23, 2010




> This week, the world will finally get its first look at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. But the
> most expensive musical in Broadway history

Will there be a movie version?
posted by jfuller at 12:16 PM on November 23, 2010


If Taymor and Shakespeare could collaborate on a film, with Taymor in charge of visual design, and somebody else running the screenplay and direction, it could be brilliant.

FTFY. Actually, Titus was brilliant. Not quite so sure about the upcoming Tempest, but it will be interesting.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:21 PM on November 23, 2010


Stop the Planet of Saucy Jack. I Want to Get Off
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2010


I can't begin to imagine the diva fights between Bono and Taymor.
posted by ao4047 at 12:31 PM on November 23, 2010


I like the notion that there's a newspaperman out there badmouthing the musical every chance he gets.

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark: Threat Or Menace?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:40 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well I liked Titus.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:55 PM on November 23, 2010


Titus is really good. I think she redeemed what, to be totally honest, and this is an English major speaking, is one of Shakespeare's worst works.

Julie Taymor would have to do something awful to fall out of my good graces. I hope Spiderman isn't that something, but I'm thinking it will be.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:19 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I've heard only amazing things from people who have seen bits of the production, and those on the inside. (I've seen some cell phone pics, and they're definitely on to something.) I think their biggest obstacle is skepticism, not the size of the production.
posted by cvp at 1:23 PM on November 23, 2010


I was totally skeptical at first (terrible title, main character in a musical has no mouth, etc.), but an acquaintance of mine involved with the show has assured me it will indeed be awesome. I'm going in January and I'm totally stoked.
posted by mkultra at 1:30 PM on November 23, 2010


I was totally skeptical at first (terrible title, main character in a musical has no mouth, etc.) ...

If this makes money, maybe they can adapt Harlan Ellison next.

I Have No Mouth And I Must Sing!
posted by Joe Beese at 1:33 PM on November 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


I know someone who was involved with Spider-Man Rocks! at Universal Hollywood. I will never be able to think about this musical without thinking of that one, which made me appreciate theme park reality TV adaptations for the first and only time in my entire life (it was replaced by Fear Factor Live!, and there was rejoicing.)
posted by SMPA at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2010


Granted, I haven't seen everything she's done, but I've seen a lot of it, and Julie Taymore is one of the most gifted directors ever in terms of creating striking images.

Unfortunately, she seems to have precisely no other skills with regards to directing, which means that everything I've seen of her's was gorgeous and god-awful. Which sucks, because her visual eye is so damned good I want to see it used in the service of something worthwhile.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:55 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I forgot to pay my power bill and the utility company turned off my dark. It's impossible to get any sleep at night.
posted by straight at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2010


Joe Beese,

I think you now owe Ellison a dollar or something...
posted by mikelieman at 5:12 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The crucial question is, do they have rights to the "Spider-man, Spider-man, Does Whatever a Spider Can" song from the cartoon series? Because that's frozen in to my childhood memories.

Scrap that: they should take out all the U2 influence and start a new musical, "Particle Man", based on songs from They Might Be Giants.
posted by Schmucko at 5:47 PM on November 23, 2010


Everything would be fine with this show if they had cast Neil Patrick Harris (or Donald Glover) in the lead role.
posted by ericbop at 5:49 PM on November 23, 2010


Julie Taymor is awesome. The funny thing about her is that a lot of things that might just sound insane and pretentious coming from a lesser talent stoke the hell out of me coming from her, because she totally delivers the goods, and really means this shit. I was nervous before I read this article that she'd just somehow gotten in over her head, figured it'd probably never be staged at all at the rate it was going, but I'm now convinced it's gonna blow people away.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:01 PM on November 24, 2010


Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark TV Spot
posted by Sailormom at 6:18 AM on November 27, 2010


Previews are not going well.
posted by octothorpe at 9:19 AM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ticket sales are.
posted by mkultra at 1:28 PM on November 30, 2010


This past Sunday's '60 Minutes': The Spectacle of Spiderman [video | 14:01].
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on November 30, 2010


It is not sounding good
posted by Artw at 4:18 PM on November 30, 2010


It is not sounding good

*Dips his whole damn face into a trough of schadenfreude and squeals like a boar*
posted by codacorolla at 10:29 AM on December 1, 2010


It doesn't get better
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on December 1, 2010


Wow, Artw, two snarky articles from the same writer on the same site that writes snarky articles on games and comics. I've got news for you- musical adaptations of existing works rarely stick to their "canon" and aren't there for the purists. This thing is going to make boatloads of moolah.
posted by mkultra at 11:56 AM on December 1, 2010


Part 3 and Part 4

Wow, Artw, two snarky articles from the same writer on the same site that writes snarky articles on games and comics. I've got news for you- musical adaptations of existing works rarely stick to their "canon" and aren't there for the purists. This thing is going to make boatloads of moolah.

/Shrugs.

It's entirely possible for something to be an abomination and make a boatload of money. Probably more likely, TBH.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on December 3, 2010


Even if you take away the critical elements of that article and choose to believe the description of the show it sounds terrible. It might as well not even be about Spiderman. I'm no purist when it comes to adaptations, but it sounds like this has no cohesion or direction.
posted by codacorolla at 2:43 PM on December 4, 2010


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