‘Spider-Man’ first preview on ’60 Minutes’

While the stage show was having its first preview tonight at the Foxwoods Theatre, 60 Minutes profiled the progress of the new Bono-The Edge musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, based on the Marvel comic strip character. The show has experienced something of a troubled gestation over the last five years, including the death of a producer, a lack of money and the cancellation of its first opening night almost a year ago. It’s put up or shut up time for a show that is now the costliest in Broadway history. The stories of severe injuries, escalating costs and producing troubles (to say nothing of concerns for the safety of the audience) have only fueled the press coverage, much of it for the worse.

Leslie Stahl interviews Bono, The Edge and Julie Taymor about the process and gives us a first look at the effects and scenery, which looks stunning. There are excerpts from the score which don’t seem, to me, as interesting as the scenography. But that doesn’t curb my curiosity of seeing the show. First preview intermission reports (concurrent to this writing) tell that the show was stopped several times in its first act and the intermission lasted 40 minutes. People seem to be positive from their tweets and messages, in spite of the stoppages. The second act appears to have had only one stoppage, with the show getting out at 10:15, three hours and forty-five minutes after the scheduled curtain time. Seems that the frenetic energy around the show and the idea of something possibly can go wrong are drumming up interest. This TV piece shouldn’t hurt sales either.

At over $60 million, the show is going to offer nothing but the best in terms of seeing the money on the stage. Taymor is a genius when it comes to stagecraft creativity (as evidenced by her 12 year old production of The Lion King still playing to packed houses on Broadway). However, in terms of money it seems that the weekly running cost is going to be astronomical: $1 million per week. I don’t know if that sets a new record, but it is certainly the highest “nut” I’ve ever heard. Everyone involved needs a hit. The show has six weeks of previews to work on the intricate staging and technological glitches. As it progress, all eyes will be on the Foxwoods as this is easily the most anticipated (for better or worse) musical in recent memory.

The show opens January 11, 2011. I think all Broadwayites will be paying attention.