Reviewed by Kyrle Lendhoffer
Superlatives. A word that means (to some – to ME) “of the highest order of quality or degree surpassing or superior to all.”
And then there are words to describe the superlatives. Or “Super”-latives, since I’m writing about a super hero masterpiece. There are not enough of them (the superlatives) for me to adequately describe what I just saw.
What did I see, dear reader?
I saw theatrical heaven on earth.
I saw an apparition of God.
I saw Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark!
Oh, where do I begin? Perhaps with the beginning – or the beginning of the construct in my mind – that is now my impression of Spider-Man – for now that it exists in my mind, so it is mine.
So, first, the performers.
None died, or appeared to be in danger of dying (some in the audience were disappointed with this – NASCAR barbarians!).
There were no obvious hard feelings amongst the artistic staff – Julie Taymor didn’t pull out an Uzi in the lobby. It was a celebration as well as a show. And after 181 (or 183 if you believe Brian Williams and NBC News) previews, the long celebration was overdue.
Taymor’s original vision was genius (in my humble opinion). The NEW vision (brought to us by new writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and creative consultant Philip William McKinley are even more geniuser (I will stick to this word – if you touch it, dear editor, you will die in your sleep).
Arachne almost disappears in the second act – no more bizarre psychobabble now. We are returned to the basic Spider-man story – will Peter get Mary Jane (of course!), will Peter learn to balance his life as mere mortal and super hero (duh!) and will Spider-man be able to turn off the dark (I still haven’t figured that part out).
The performances are, across the board, magnificent. Reeve Carney IS Peter Parker. From supple human to then powerful super-hero, Carney runs the gamut of our collective experience. And how can he not run said gamut when paired with the winsome Jennifer Damiano – beautiful, graceful – a song bird.
Tony Awards loom in future of Carney and Damiano. Bet on it. I will!
Patrick Page is also beyond wonder as Norman Osborne/The Green Goblin. A villain, yes. But a villain who is having the villainous time of his life.
Shall I give Page a Tony, too? Yes, I will.
I would call out every actor in this spectacular achievement but this review would go on too long. Suffice it to say that everyone involved in the magnificent production are soon to be Broadway legends. Just go here (http://www.ibdb.com/production.php?id=488485) and read all of the names. You will be glad you did.
You will also be glad to know the Bono and The Edge (they are named like characters in their own musical!) have written some of the most startlingly superb music to be heard on the Great White Way in many years.
I can’t imagine that any theater patron with a beating heart and working ears could be able to leave Foxwoods Theater without humming the very catchy songs. I say this with great resolve – Bono and Mr. Edge, please give up that silly U2 and take up musical theater full time! You won’t regret it.
In conclusion, do what you must to see Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark.
Sell your blood, or a lung or even your mother. Blood regenerates, you only need one lung and Mom won’t last forever. And neither will Spider-Man.
When it becomes the winner of the most Tony Awards in history, you will be glad you did. I’m betting on it!
What a great start to the new season! And with Rampage Of The Stegosaur set to flatten Broadway (in a good way!) this fall, it will, indeed, be a season to remember!
Kyrle Lendhoffer – Behind The Proscenium