The Unbearable Banishment: Spider-man: Turn Off the Funding

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spider-man: Turn Off the Funding

I believe that certain shows should never see the light of day, regardless of their pedigree. A few years ago, they made a musical out of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. At that time, I was exchanging emails with Hornby (long story) and he confided that he wasn’t sure how it could work since Rob, the character in the book and, theoretically, the target audience for the show, was the type of guy who wouldn’t be caught dead attending a Broadway musical.

Sure enough, the show opened and closed in short order. Did the producers learn their lesson? It seems not.

Someone came up with the terrible idea of turning Spider-man into a Broadway musical. I’m not kidding. I read Spider-man comic books as a kid and I don’t want to see Spider-man singing on a Broadway stage! Criminy! The low point of Spider-man III was that ridiculous cabaret scene. WTF was that?

I don’t know how they did it but they somehow convinced Bono and The Edge to write the music and lyrics. U2 writing Broadway musicals?! That’s ANOTHER terrible idea! Further, they got Julie Taymor to direct. She directed Disney’s The Lion King, which is a spectacular display of costumes, puppetry and staging (although the Elton John/Tim Rice score is completely forgettable). Allan Cumming agreed to play the Green Goblin. Another great talent sucked in. The end result was suppose to be Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark.

I can’t imagine how they lured all this top-shelf talent into a project that, to me, seems doomed from the start. Cash?

But this post has a happy ending. Cooler heads have prevailed and work on this train wreck has been suspended due to an “unexpected cash flow problem.” Thank Jeebus. The critics can put down their knives and I don’t have to worry about Peter Parker singing a tender love ballad to Mary Jane and then grabbing a top hat and cane and breaking into a spider-dance. Shudder.



Blogger Sid said...

Spiderman on Broadway ... Oh that is brilliant. I can just imagine how many men out there awould be enraged by the very idea.

August 18, 2009 at 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when was this supposed to open? i always wondered how far along a production could be - especially a high visibility thing - and still get thwacked...

August 18, 2009 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sid: Well, *I* was pissed when I first heard! How dare they tarnish my memory.

Daisy: I think it was suppose to start previewing in February. It would have been awful. The "effects" would have been cheesy and unconvincing.

August 18, 2009 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

I love your blog, but we part company on theater. Usually when you write a theater post, I skip it, but even I was sucked into this Spiderman nonsense. It had a happy ending, because any musical not produced is a good musical. That said, I saw The Lion King and loved it.

August 18, 2009 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Oh god. One day, far far away, they'll ban remakes, sequels and adaptations of anything, and Broadway / Hollywood will actually have to come up with an original idea for once.

Imagine that.

August 18, 2009 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha. Good commentary UB. I concur with your assessment.

August 18, 2009 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Jason Quinones said...

i had read about this rumored atrocity on many a comics blog back when it was still a germ of an idea.

i balked at the very thought of it thinking it would never, could never, SHOULD NEVER(!!!!) happen. but yeah spiderman 3 was chock fulla crap musical numbers and still made a shit ton of money so anything is unfortunately possible.

when i first saw the spiderman on b'way poster i couldn't beleive it. then i and saw the U2 musical score credits and damn near died of shock on the spot! those guys not only jumped the shark but they kicked the fucker to death once they hit the water! didn't know alan cumming was going to be the goblin but that does seem like an inspired choice for the role if it had to happen.

still glad it's not going to happen though. i'm surprised this idea gained enough steam to get as far as it did actually.

August 18, 2009 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Jason Quinones said...

p.s.- julie tamor!!

i did take a date to see lion king ages ago and was quite surprised by how amazing the stage production and costumes were. i guess there was a possibility that she if anyone could maybe make this mess watchable. still kinda of tall order though.

p.p.s. loved julie tamor's film Titus.

August 18, 2009 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Cat: I understand. Sometimes I even bore myself with the theater posts.

Jo: They'll ban them when they stop turning a profit. Which is to say, never.

Rob: We have spoken.

Jason: Alan Cumming and his hatchet face would have made a perfect Goblin. His turn as the MC in the Donmar production of Cabaret (with Natasha Richardson, RIP) was perhaps one of the best stage performances I've ever seen.

August 18, 2009 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Sounds a bit like Meryl Streep in Big Brother.

Wrong. Just wrong.

Oh, wait a second, she's the same Meryl Streep who did Mama Mia; maybe Big Brother isn't beneath her.

August 18, 2009 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger tennysoneehemingway said...

I'm not sure it's a case of cooler heads prevailing but more a case of no one's buying tickets. What's next then? I know, an Atom Ant caberet spectacular! Yeah, that'll work!

August 18, 2009 at 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

surely the whole thing was a joke. surely.

August 19, 2009 at 4:51 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ellie: Can you imagine Meryl Streep on Big Brother? It would give the New York theater snobs fainting spells.

TH: That's funny! Up and at 'em.

Nurse: Not a joke. Just a bad dream.

August 19, 2009 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Nick Hornby? That is so cool.

August 19, 2009 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Ed & Jeanne said...

I agree. Stupid! Any time they take something out of character it's a slippery slope. That's how they ruined "The Fonz" from Happy Days too. He went from being a cool mysterious side character to the main event. They had him doing ridiculous stuff and ultimately he looked like a bafoon while everyone else had to support it as background characters.

August 22, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

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