Remember when we got all excited/worried that Julie Taymor signed on to direct a Broadway musical based on the adventures of Spider-Man but things started to go terribly wrong when players were getting injured so severely in previews that they had to quit the production and the show had to go dark for a week so that it could be revamped? Then Taymor got fired and the show re-opened and finally found box office success (and, thankfully, no more injuries)? Yeah, well, the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark story is about to come to a close. Due to declining ticket sales, the show will close on Broadway in January. Plans are in the works to adapt the stage production for Las Vegas, where producers feel the show can find new life … but Spider-Man’s time on the Great White Way is about to come to a final end.
The $75 million Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” the most expensive theatrical production in history, will close in early January after months of declining ticket sales, one of the lead producers said on Monday night. A somewhat revamped version of the show is being planned for Las Vegas in 2015, according to the producer, Jeremiah J. Harris. The decision to close “Spider-Man,” which gained worldwide publicity and notoriety because of cast injuries and backstage conflicts, as well as its enormous budget, came down to a hard financial reality after three years of performances, Mr. Harris said. While the musical emerged to become an audience favorite, grossing roughly $1.5 million a week in ticket sales for a time, “Spider-Man” eventually lost popularity. It grossed only $742,595 last week, or 48 percent of the maximum possible amount, with about three-quarters of its seats filled at the Foxwoods Theater. “The show is, I would say, middling,” Mr. Harris said of box office sales. “We could run for probably another three to five years being stuck in the middle. We think it will play Las Vegas with a greater bang than it did in New York.” The producers are now in final negotiations for a space in Las Vegas, which Mr. Harris declined to identify. Mr. Harris said the owners of the Foxwoods Theater did not invoke their stop clause, with which theater owners can force a show to close when its weekly grosses fall below a certain amount. “The decision to close was all ours,” he said. The owners of the Foxwoods, who are based in London, could not be immediately reached for comment. The decision to close the show was reported Monday night by The Wall Street Journal. The new Australian musical “King Kong” has been considering a move to the Foxwoods after “Spider-Man” closes, but no official plans are in place. The Foxwoods is expected to undergo some renovations before its next tenant moves in … As for Las Vegas, Mr. Harris said the creative team would be made up of key players from the Broadway production, including Philip William McKinley, who took over directing duties on the musical after the producers fired its original leader, Julie Taymor. “I think the musical will be very similar to New York, but obviously sculpted for the Las Vegas market,” Mr. Harris said of “Spider-Man,” which is best-known for its aerial effects over the audience and its original score by Bono and the Edge of U2. Mr. Harris said he did not know at this point if the script would change markedly or if Bono and the Edge would write new songs for Las Vegas. Nor did Mr. Harris have a budget estimate for the Las Vegas production, but he said that sets, costumes and special-effects technology from the Broadway “Spider-Man” would be used there. He said he hoped the show would eventually spin off future productions overseas.
I got to see the show as Taymor originally envisioned it and then again after it was revamped and I much preferred the revamped version to the clunky original version. When it got fixed, I found the show a completely enjoyable experience. I’m really glad I got to see the show in both incarnations on Broadway. To be honest, I’m surprised that the show managed to last on Broadway as long as it did. While a fun show, the crazy cost of production (the most expensive in Broadway history) meant that they had to rake in a lot of money for years and years and years … there was just no way they could be able0