Superhero spotted on 42nd Street.

Well, it happened.

After years of speculation and millions and millions of dollars, it finally happened.

Spider-Man opened last night on Broadway.

You’re probably thinking I got that last sentence wrong.  That I should have said Spider-Man started previews last night.

But with the amount of ink from new and old media the show got last night and this morning, you might as well call it opened.

The chat boards lit up during the show last night (I bet all of the sites saw a surge in traffic), as did Twitter and the blogosphere.  The traditional media caught up this morning, with Spidey snagging the front page of the NY Post (right out of one of those scenes from a super hero movie where the papers hit the streets with a headline that screams, “Spider-Man saves the day!”) as well articles in the NY Times, The Journal, and many, many others.

And while the big publications aren’t reviewing the show, because they “can’t”, they are letting audience members do it for them, with quotes like “parts of it were really exciting” and “the story-telling is really unclear.”

Fair?  Unfair?

As a Producer, I might be frustrated with any negative coverage judging a first preview before my cake was fully cooked.  But when you build the biggest baked good in the world, you gotta expect it.

And hey – you can always take solace in the fact that what these publications are doing, without knowing it, is putting another nail in their own reviewers’ coffins.  By putting so much attention on the show up front, many audience members will have made up their minds by the time the reviews come out.  (When My First Time had a feature article in the NY Times, I sold soooo many more tickets than I sold when the review came out – and a bunch of people called me and congratulated me on the “review”.)

But I will say this to the press, and to all the chatters out there that have been sharpening their claws for the past several weeks . . . write what you will.  But remember, what they are doing down there is unprecedented.  They are building the musical version of the Great Wall of China.  (Which, by the way, I’m sure had a bunch of cost overruns and was also way behind schedule).

More important that precedent, is that they are employing an awful lot of people.

We should all be pulling for their success.  Explorers of uncharted territory may not always find what they are looking for (remember what Columbus was looking for), and many die in the process, but they always stumble upon something which provides new opportunities for all the rest of us.

Stay the course, Spidey.  Some of us are rooting for ya.

Now the big question is . . . will they be publishing their grosses???

Comments
  • I also want it to be good. Spectacle has a place on Broadway — and so do visionary artists trying to follow a vision. If it fails, it fails. But it I would rather have a noble failure with ambition than a pandering bore.

  • Luci says:

    After watching the 60 minutes piece and kind of taking an impartial view after all the buzz…. I have two questions. 1)How in the world do they expect to make their cost back. Bono said last night that the operating costs alone were about 1 million a week. I don’t understand how that makes anyone invested in the show money… any light ken?
    2)Does this furter the art form of producing? Does this make it harder to mount a show on broadway that is not 60 million? Many of those shows tend to push the boundaries of the art just as much as high flying and jukebox musicals.
    I will admit that Taymor is a genius at bringing the impossible to the stage and screen. But what do these shows bring to our industry are we evolving or reversing the art form.

  • Ed from Connecticut says:

    This is still version 1.0.
    The Broadway version may need to be a loss leader but, if, like Steve S. commented, it is good and has a vision then it will be worthwhile.
    It will presumably be much easier launching the next version in Tokyo, London and other cities- and that should be where they can recoup (again, if it is good).

  • dan mason says:

    Some will say that the “reviews” are unfair this early in the game. However, if people are spending $150 or more of their hard earned money to see the show, they should be able to critique all they want. I was in town in October for the first preview of “Women on The Verge” and paid full price to see what Bartlett Sher told us was “the first run through of the show”. “Verge” was full of technical problems and the stage crew was onstage just as much as the actors. However, as I blogged about after the show, the tech problems weren’t as offensive as the problems with the script, which was not good. So i’m not as worried to hear that “Spiderman” had actors suspended in mid-air for ten minutes as I am to hear that the plot is confusing and hard to follow.
    The next few weeks are going to spent ironing out the special effects, but let’s not kid ourselves. The script and score are what they are at this point.
    I’m cheering for them. It’s a show that could bring lots of new patrons to the theater. But they have to like what they see when they get there, it doesn’t matter

  • Doug Hicton says:

    Not “unchartered”, but “uncharted” territory, as in unmapped.

  • Anita says:

    Thanks, Luci…yours are my thoughts and questions exactly…

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

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