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Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark returns ‘almost a brand-new show’

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark returned last night from a three-week hiatus “virtually unrecognizable” from the troubled musical savaged by critics in February.

That assessment comes courtesy of the production’s most vocal detractor, the New York Post’s Michael Riedel, who quotes lead producer Michael Cohl as saying, “It’s almost a brand-new show.”

Indeed, it certainly looks that way. As anticipated, Arachne, the eight-legged villainess created by former director Julie Taymor, has been reduced to a minor role (she previously dominated the second act). Both the “utterly superfluous” Geek Chorus — a group of four comic fans that provided much of the show’s exposition — and the Furies — Arachne’s minions who performed the widely panned “Deeply Furious” shoe-shopping number — have been cut entirely.

With Arachne diminished, Patrick Page’s Green Goblin is given a more prominent role. Previously, the classic villain was killed off in the first act, only to make a confusing return in Act II. Now, Entertainment Weekly says, his climactic battle with Spider-Man is, appropriately enough, the show’s finale. He’s also given the only new song, “Freak Like Me”; most of the other musical numbers have been reworked.

Characters like Uncle Ben, Aunt May and Norman Osborn’s wife Emily, who had been little more than footnotes in the $70-million production, have been given upgrades as well.

In short, as Riedel writes, the show now “hews more closely to Spidey’s original comic-book sensibilities.”

However, the overhaul, spearheaded by new director Philip William McKinley, Taymor’s co-writer Glen Berger and script doctor (and comics scribe) Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, creates a tangled web of credits.

Critics are invited to attend preview performances June 9-11, ahead of the show’s scheduled June 14 opening night. You can view the new trailer for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark below.

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Comments

3 Comments

It will be interesting to see if this works. And if it does, it makes you wonder why they didn’t try to get RAS in from the ground floor. He’s written Spider-man in the comics, and he’s done work for stage performances also. I mean don’t these stuff actually have to be approved by Marvel Entertainment? You’d think they’d want to make sure their stuff are presented in the best light every time.

When you hire Julie Taymor, you assume you’re hiring the best.

um… Not any more you don’t!

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