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Spiderman- The Critics Aint Wait Gonna Wait Till Feb!

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MamasDoin'Fine
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Newsday

Creative envelopes are being pushed and safety rules rethought at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," the mega-monster, $65-million show that's eating more money and making bigger headlines than any musical - make that any live cultural anything - in New York memory. The other day, I got a Google alert about the show from Pakistan.
Also being pushed, like it or not, is the unwritten rule that keeps professional critics from commenting on a production before its official opening. After four premiere push-backs (now to Feb. 7), four high-profile injuries, 19 previews at full price
($75-$150, almost double through brokers), and public investigations by state and federal safety agencies, it seems that critics are now the only interested parties who can't see the bride before the wedding.
So I broke Broadway's gentleperson's agreement with the media and bought a ticket for Thursday's preview. The1,900-seat house has been selling out, especially during the holidays.
Meanwhile, safety measures are being secured and director Julie Taymor is said to be making much-needed changes to the meandering book, especially the weak second act, without losing the many amazing stage pictures.
I understand that is the official purpose of previews. In this case, however, it feels right to see what everyone else has been seeing and share some preliminary
observations. And, especially after chief aerialist Christopher Tierney fell from a 30-foot platform Monday, it has been getting ugly out there.
Nobody fell or was hurt at Thursday's performance and one can only hope that the new safety protocols will keep it that way. Still, there definitely was a kind of NASCAR bloodlust among even the most civilized theatergoers. Elliott Rauh, who
runs a theater in Baltimore, told me he was wowed by the stunts, but acknowledged that "the sense that something unsafe might happen is spectacular."
Indeed, the up-close flying really is exciting and scary, in a circus way. If nothing else bad happens, eventually the scenes may lose the taint of disaster. On Thursday, the company needed three Spidey doubles - one for flying, one for dancing, one for talking - to replace Tierney (who is expected to move to rehab Monday after spine surgery).
Criminally, Tierney's flying replacement, the one who manages the most extraordinary feats, was notidentified in the program. His name is Joshua Kobak, and his daring (especially in a fight scene with Patrick Page's terrific Green Goblin)
was a highlight of the show.
Thomas F. Knapp, a frequent theatergoer from Locust Valley, told me he admired the sets and the special effects, and trusted that Taymor will be able to fix the lack of
stylistic continuity. "The music is the weakest thing," he said about the surprisingly conventional Broadway-pop score by U2's Bonoand the Edge. Despite early announcements that the musicians would be back from touring to help fix their show before Christmas, they're not due back now until after the new year.
Asked whether the show could succeed without better music, Knapp said, "If 'Titanic' and 'Miss Saigon' could succeed, anything can. Besides, if I want art, I'll go to see 'Carmen' at the Met. This is entertainment."
Sandy Nathan of Westport, Conn., said she enjoyed seeing her grandchildren, age 10 and 13, loving the show. "But I don't think this is theater for adults." Tracy Evans
of Houston called the design "spectacular," but didn't understand the four narrators, called the Geek Chorus, who periodically stop the action to explain what's going on.
Clearly, the pressure is on to compete with arena rock, the Spidey movies and video games, without alienating the comic-book cognoscenti and mainstream Broadway audience. The show also must be safe, without losing the thrill of dangerous abandon. Can this be done? The whole world - no kidding - is watching.
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songanddanceman2
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Newsday was not really a review but Bloomberg should be ashamed at themselves, its had around 20 previews and the critic is already banging down the door, that's less previews than most shows. He did it for attention plain and simple.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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philitalia
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Number of previews : Phantom 16, Wicked 25, Lion king (directed by Taymor) 33,Starlight Express 22, Miss Saigon 19

These days shows do tend to have more previews, but even if Spiderman is technically more challenging, safety comes first AND you do not open the show until it's finished.
Previews should be for some fine-tuning, not for completing an unfinished work.
How many previews will Spiderman have had by the time it opens in February ? 50? 60?

Maybe the theatre is jinxed ... it hasn't had a big success since it reopened in the 1990's (except maybe the revival of 42nd Street).

By the way, why is Bono in Ireland and not in New York during this process ?
Updated On: 12/28/10 at 10:24 AM
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philitalia
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Here's something nice to read ... not just about Spidey

http://www.broadwaydoctor.com/
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songanddanceman2
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You have to remember though that the show unlike amost other shows had not had an Out of Town try Out which is where the work is done. Out Of Towns usually run for a month or 2 so have far more time that Spiderman to get the show right.

The show has opened for previews thinking it was ready, clearly audiences disagree and they are working to fix it.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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philitalia
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There is no excuse for putting on a show that is technically not ready to the point where people get hurt ... the creative team has an obligation to keep its employees safe. It's not the Chinese State Circus that's come to town.
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MamasDoin'Fine
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SADM2, Ive seen the show and it is so not ready.

If I saw it again in a years time it would still be a hideously boring load of rubbish, its beyond repair before they even try to fix it!
Updated On: 12/28/10 at 11:20 AM
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Be interesting to see the grosses this week, wondering if they've taken a drop also?
Updated On: 12/28/10 at 11:35 AM
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songanddanceman2
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Mamma i know you have seen the show and did not like it but away from Broadway World many people are saying they do like it (though admit it needs work). Shows divide people, on here however it seems to be about 10 or 11 people who have seen it yet 300 people are slamming it.

My defending this show has nothing to do with 'the show', i have little intrest in seeing it, its more to do with im horrified at how awful people who have not seen it have been towards it and how the press seem to be kicking the s**t out of it for no other reason than its expensive. As a theatre community i was hoping the sheep effect would not take hold of this show and people would allow them to have time to sort it out in previews, that does not seem like its going to happen (luckily a few are reporting who have seen the show a few times that its getting better each time they went back so it means at least the team are working on it).

As for the injury comment, the fact the accidents happen does not mean the show is not ready. 2 were hurt in rehearsals (as many cirque dancers were injured in rehersals for their new shows), 1 was hit with something back stage and a stupid error (a human error) hurt poor Chris who said himself that nobody is to blame, accidents happen.

If we screamed 'the show is not ready, close it down' everytime an actor was injured in previews then Starlight, Little Mermaid, Xanadu etc would have never taken to the stage.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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songanddanceman2
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PS Phantom, the show made just under a million off 4 performances
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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MamasDoin'Fine
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Whatever **** the critics are trying to kick out of it is up there in abundance on that stage!
The shows at Disneyland and Universal contain more thrills than this am dram show!
The audience was completely void of anticipation or excitement before the show and all the way thru to the end!
Horrendous!
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philitalia
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Actually, it's doing good business, but up to $289 for a seat (premium on Ticketmaster). Not exactly preview prices.

The creative team wanted to create a hype and it backfired. Whether it is OK to publish a review before the opening ? I don't know in this case as the opening gets postponed and postponed and postponed.
IF the show had been any good - getting the press in early - could have helped to silence the critics and the vitriolic attacks.

I do know that if I'd had bought expensive tickets months ago for a January performance ... and now it appears the show is still previewing ... I'd be pissed off.
Updated On: 12/28/10 at 12:20 PM
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songanddanceman2
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Which ending did you see on the show Mammma?
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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MamasDoin'Fine
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I saw the ending I thought would never bloody come!

I saw, the matinee of the 2nd week!
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