60 Minutes gave us a first look at the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Sunday night, and it looked great… or goofy. The music by U2’s Bono and The Edge sounded terrific… or bombastic. The frequently-delayed, hugely expensive musical, directed by Julie Taymor, got the best possible commercial it could have before opening: A sympathetic profile by correspondent Lesley Stahl, footage of Bono powering through some of the songs he’s co-written, and some cool shots of various Spider-Men on wires zooming around the theater.
The 60 Minutes report was timed to the show having its first preview performance on Broadway on Sunday night. It would be pointless and unfair to pass judgment on Spider-Man based on the 60 Minutes segment, but this glimpse was fascinating, no matter how the musical fares at the box office. Taymor, who defied skeptics who never thought her stylized take on a theatrical version of The Lion King would be a mass hit, admitted to being scared and thrilled at the challenge of bringing the ol’ web-spinner into yet another medium.
The songs as sung by Bono this night sounded rousing, and that’s what U2-derived music does, right? — it rouses listeners. The thing is, Bono won’t be singing those melodies on Broadway, and it remains to be heard how Bono’s heroic anthems will sound when executed by Broadway performers.
Based on the 60 Minutes segment, Turn Off the Dark isn’t going to be afraid to show the wires when Spider-Man swoops over the paying customers — probably a good thing: reassuring to any ticket-buyer fearing that Spidey will drop on them a bit heavily. And the mere fact that not once during the segment did anyone utter the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” suggests that the musical might be making a fresh break from the movie franchise, which would be a smart move.
Plus the Green Goblin and other villain masks created by Taymor looked pretty cool.
Are you looking forward to the Broadway Spider-Man? What did you think of the 60 Minutes segment?