With a confirmed opening night date comes great responsibility. Plus, there’s that top ticket price of $140.
True to their word, producers of the much-delayed, megabudget tuner “Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark” will get the show open by the end of the year, if just barely. Production will begin previews Nov. 14 at the newly rechristened Foxwoods Theater ahead of a Dec. 21 opening.
That’s unusually close to the Christmas holidays for a major Broadway opening. Schedule immediately prompted skeptical legiters to view the timing as a
strategy to bury the show’s reviews, which in late December seem likely to be overlooked by vacationers.
On the other hand, “Spider-Man” swings onto the Main Stem with multiple elements that may obviate reviews. Tuner has the benefit of a high-profile Marvel Comics property along with a score by Bono and the Edge of enduringly popular band U2. Helmer Julie Taymor already has one top-grossing Broadway spectacle under her belt with long-running “The Lion King.”
Last season’s musical iteration of “The Addams Family,” which has posted weekly sales of more than $1 million almost since it began previews, seems to rep an example of a show that has overcome negative notices, doing so thanks in part to the well-known property that powers it. (It remains to be seen, however, how sales will hold up beyond the summer tourist season.)
New musical’s top ticket price (not counting premium-priced ducats), which hits $140 for weekend perfs, is the highest on the Street for the moment, but not by much. A handful of tuners, including “Addams Family” and “Billy Elliot,” already top out at $135.
Musical arrives on the Rialto after a bumpy financial ride. Originally on tap to begin perfs early this year, production was halted in August due to what producers described as cash-flow problems. Music industry vet Michael Cohl took over as lead producer of the project in November.
Cast, which has been reassembled after Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming dropped out, includes Reeve Carney as the wallcrawler, Jennifer Damiano (“Next to Normal”) playing teen paramour Mary Jane Watson and Patrick Page (“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) as the villainous Green Goblin.
Capitalization costs of the technologically ambitious “Spider-Man” are widely speculated to have topped $50 million. Flying rehearsals have been underway since July 19, with rehearsals for the full company kicking off Aug. 16.
Confirmation of the “Spider-Man” sked officially makes the tuner the commercial juggernaut to beat of the 2009-10 season (a distinction it also held for the 2009-10 season, until its original timeline was scuttled).
Also waiting in the wings are potential crowdpleasers including “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” “Sister Act” and “Phantom of the Opera” sequel “Love Never Dies” — although some doubt the latter will make it to the Main Stem before the end of the season this spring.