The saga of comic book hero Spider-man on Broadway has come to an end, with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark finishing its run at the Foxwoods Theatre today. The musical concludes having played 1,058 regular performances, plus a record-breaking 182 preview performances.
Initially helmed by The Lion King‘s visionary director Julie Taymor, Spider-man suffered from technical and creative problems and an exploding budget during its development phase and preview period. Eventually a new director and bookwriter came in to get the production under control, and, once it opened, the show enjoyed brisk sales. After roughly three years, Spider-man closes as the 16th highest-grossing Broadway show in history.
However, Spider-man‘s multi-million dollar costs were so high that it likely would have needed to run at a profit for several years more in order to earn back its investment. While the musical was no longer able to make money on Broadway, the show’s producers intend to try their luck with it next in Las Vegas.
The saga of Spider-man on Broadway is coming to an end, as producers have announced that the multi-millionaire dollar musical will be concluding its Broadway run on January 4, 2014. Though the controversial show will likely get a financial boost during the holidays (as do many Broadway musicals), it won’t come close to making back its enormous investment by closing.
With direction by Julie Taymor (The Lion King) and a score by U2’s Bono and The Edge, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was initially expected to be a big hit. But Spider-Man experienced numerous troubles and delays during its development, going on to have a record-length preview period on Broadway, resulting in a significant overhaul of the show that included replacing both director Taymor and the original bookwriter.
In addition to creative troubles and an outrageous price tag, Spider-Man also made headlines for a series of injuries to its actors. Featuring incredible aerial stunts that include the actors flying over the audience in fast-paced fight sequences, Spider-Man took its cast to the limits of what had previously been seen in Broadway musicals in terms of acrobatics.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which plays at the large Foxwoods Theatre, made money for much of its three-year run, offering families the rare Broadway show that actively appealed to young male audiences. But ticket sales dipped in recent months. Some projected that the show would need to run at a profit for as many as 10 years before it could earn back its $75 million investment, meaning that the musical simply couldn’t afford to run at a loss.
Producers already have the next step for Spider-Man planned, though. They will be taking a shorter version of the show to Las Vegas, where its comic book reputation, striking visuals, and big stunts are likely to draw audiences looking for a big-budget alternative to the Vegas Strip’s many Cirque du Soleil shows.
In “From Stage to Screen and Back Again,” an event at the 92nd Street Y, theatrical visionary and Broadway director/designer Julie Taymor will discuss her work with actor Harry Lennix (who was in Taymor’s 1999 movie Titus).
Tony Award winner Julie Taymor is of course best known for her extraordinary work in Disney’s stage adaptation of The Lion King, which has remained one of Broadway’s biggest hits for 15 years. However, she became very controversial during the development and preview period of the multi-million dollar Broadway production of Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark. Currently, she is directing a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn.
Julie Taymor will be at the 92nd Street Y on November 17 at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased by calling 212-415-5500 or by visiting www.92y.org.