Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ gets its reviews

After 2-1/2 months of previews and three opening nights postponed, theater critics from the country’s major newspapers have stepped in and written their reviews of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the $65-million musical that has become a running joke on Broadway.

And the word is not good.

Critics seem to hesitate to say that it’s the worst Broadway musical ever made — if only because none of them have seen every Broadway musical ever made. But “one of the worst” is a recurring theme.

Here are some of the reviews:

“Sheer ineptitude,” Ben Brantley, The New York Times.

“A shrill, insipid mess,” — Peter Marks, The Washington Post

“The music and lyrics are less of a score than an endless and repetitive soundtrack.” — Steven Suskin, Variety.

“An incoherent story,” Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune.

“A teetering colossus,” Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times.

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14 responses to “Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ gets its reviews

  1. I saw last night and while I personally had no interest in seeing it, it was devastating to learn that such wonderful artists still were not able to pull this together. One review I saw had seen it previously, and actually said it had gotten worse. I truly hope no one cheers at its demise, but instead hope that many learn from the experience and any folly. We are all theater artists – send them energy to get through all this.

    • I’m by no means cheering — but I think the most interesting comment in these reviews is that this is what happens when too much money is available. Having to budget does seem to help.

      • Oh I did not think you were! I am talking about chatter (blogs/fbook/etc) and a lot of people that give the impression they wish for it to fail.
        Indeed the money issue is there – to be the larger issue is that without a story and human connection all the money in the world does not a broadway show make. Story. Humanity.

  2. John A. Kwitkoski

    Dumb idea from the get-go. And now it’s Dum-dum-dum-dum!
    (Makes slashing movement across throat.)

  3. Katrina Ploof

    In answer to your question, yes I think I would like to see it. At this point in my life in the theatre I seem to learn more from mistakes than successes. Maybe that’s a normal part of the process, because you try to work out in your head what could have been done differently. Not that I’m an expert on $65 million dollar musicals, actually more like $65.00 musicals, but I bet sitting there with a somewhat educated eye could be a pretty enlightening and ultimately educational experience…of course this is all precluded by the fact that I would have to somehow come up with the zillion dollars for a ticket…

  4. Elizabeth, I completely agree with you. Unfortunately, that seems to be an issue with a lot of what is on Broadway now. Last time I was in NYC, I saw “Time Stands Still” with Laura Linney, Christina Ricci, et all. and Lombardi with Judith Light and Dan Lauria. I purposely chose to go see straight plays because the musical theatre of ‘the great white way’ has just gotten to be too out of hand. Theatre, much against the rest of the businesses in America, doesn’t necessarily hold true to the American idea of over-commercialization and over-production. You still need a solid product to sell – you can’t just throw on another set piece and another gobo in the lights and think that will be the ‘end all be all’. Theatre, I believe, at its base is a viscerally-driven medium. If I can’t feel anything for the characters – no matter what the spectacle is – I just go numb.

  5. I really, really wanted this show to work, mostly because (despite its incredibly high running cost) it would have brought lots of new people to theater. And yes, I’d still go see it if I could afford to get there and buy a ticket. (I sat through “Carrie, the Musical” – how much worse could it be?) :D

  6. Carrie Patterson

    We saw it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was to busy being entertained to notice the flaws the critics might have seen. There was always something new happening. The audience who paid the price of admission seemed to enjoy it. Left the theater thinking it might have a long run because the whole family could enjoy it. Before seeing , it the only thing I knew about Spiderman was the costume. As much as I enjoyed Spiderman, the best show we saw was The Whipping Man with Andre Braugher.

  7. For a $30 ticket, the show would be totally worth it regardless of negative reviews.

    General Rush: $30 – available each morning at the Foxwoods Box Office. Limit 2 per person. Subject to availability, and may not be available for every performance.

    I look forward to seeing it one day as a community theater production.

  8. And one more thing, it’s playing in a theater named after a casino! :D

  9. I’m totally cheering that this looks like an epic failure.

    • Why would you cheer anyone’s “epic failure,” Derek? Certainly not something I would ever wish to do regardless of circumstance.

      A lot of work went into this – the reviews speak very highly of the actors, the sets, the costumes, etc. Those artists will share in whatever negative comes to the show. It seems to have been a perfect storm of circumstances, however all the individual parts are worthy ones. It did not work. But there is no cheer in years of work, millions of dollars, time sacrificed and spent, people’s hopes and dreams becoming “an epic failure.”

  10. Scottie Campbell

    I hope to get a chance to see it. I’ll go anywhere Julie Taymor takes me! She’s brilliant!