This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

The Daily Need

‘Spider-Man’ grounded again for fine-tuning

Spidey fans, it looks like our superhero’s battle to make it on Broadway will be his toughest yet.

Producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” announced today that they are delaying the production — for a fourth time. Opening night is now set for February 7, 2011, buying the show an extra month to do some fine-tuning.

Top of the list? Not the infamous technical glitches you may have read about. Those have been pretty much ironed out. Now it’s a matter of addressing the reported kinks in the story.  So the creative team is staging a new closing number, adding scenes, deleting others and rewriting lines in the ones that make the cut.

According to, director Julie Taymor is “very happy” about this development.

… with the holidays and cast absences, there were only “17 hours left to work until January 11th. It wasn’t enough time.” The show is putting on 8 performances a week as they make changes. It’s a little like building a house while people are living in it.

This house is already hosting a lot of people. Since opening for previews in November, the production has played at 98% capacity and made nearly $1 million a week.  Fantastic figures for most any show. But “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” of course, isn’t just any show. It’s the most expensive musical ever staged in Broadway history and, if New York Times reporter Catherine Rampell’s back-of-the-envelope figures are any indication, it’s going to take four years before it even begins to recoup its $65 million investment.

By all accounts — including our own from last week’s broadcast — Taymor is undaunted. And, perhaps, with good reason. She has a proven artistic and commercial track record. So if investors are willing to gamble $150 million on Hollywood (Look no further than Disney’s “Tron” for a risky three-figure venture.), why would they be criticized for supporting “Spider-Man” at half the price?

“The Lion King,” Taymor’s last Broadway hit was staged for an estimated $25 million, according to New York Magazine.  And, to date, it has grossed — get this — $4.2 billion worldwide!  That’s a heckuva a lot of Hakuna Matata.

So, Spidey is down, but it seems safe to say that he sure ain’t out.