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Trivia / Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

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  • Accidentally Correct Writing: The joke that Mary Jane ends up in a Broadway show based on The Fly may be this, as there really is an opera based on the 1986 film which was first staged in 2008.
  • Colbert Bump: Glenn Beck promoted the musical on his radio show, giving it some extra attention. And then there was the "Spider-Monster" skit on Sesame Street which mocked its Troubled Production.
  • Cut Song: Many songs from 1.0 were altered or cut, such as the opening number "Splash Page". Arachne's songs got hit hardest; she lost "Deeply Furious," "Think Again," "Love Me or Kill Me." Some lyrics from "Deeply Furious" were reused in "A Freak Like Me Needs Company."
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  • Drawing Board Hiatus: Came with the Troubled Production. The script underwent several reworks, Bono and The Edge from U2 were brought in to write new music, original director Julie Taymor either quit or was fired after rejecting the changes from said reworks and the musical had the longest preview period in Broadway history with an astonishing 182 performances before the official premiere.
  • Hard-to-Adapt Work: As discussed in Wait In The Wing's retrospective, a major culprit for the show's Troubled Production was the cost and difficulty of translating the franchise's acrobatic feats into a medium that's restricted to practical effects: while the comics and cartoons are incentivized by The Law of Conservation of Detail to depict these stunts, and the films can work around them with CGI and carefully-edited shots, the production was forced to execute them to their fullest extent with complicated wiring mechanisms (and the ensuing red tape). Even after the extensive, expensive construction of this wiring system, there were so many moving parts that it was highly susceptible to failure, as seen with the numerous issues during previews.
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  • Inspiration for the Work: According to Glen Berger's book Song of Spider-Man, Julie Taymor became committed to the project after seeing the first page of Ultimate Spider-Man's first issue, where Norman Osborn relates the myth of Arachne to his coworker. This led to Arachne's large presence in the first version of the show.
  • Lying Creator: Videos and statements before previews began claimed that the musical was "based on the comics, not the movies." It's actually a composite adaptation of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.
  • Recycled Script: The first version had quite a bit of dialogue from the first movie in it. The second got rid of most of it, but scenes like Spider-Man saving a baby from a fire still seem directly lifted.
    • Oddly enough, the Green Goblin is given the backstory of Dr. Octopus from the second film, with Harry Osborn not existing at all.
  • Troubled Production: Quite possibly the most infamous, noteworthy and widely mocked example of one in Broadway history. This article goes into further detail.
    • It had a hard time just getting to its preview period on Broadway... whereupon things went From Bad to Worse due to seemingly endless injuries to its performers note , inspiring parodies on Conan, snarky coverage by The Onion AV Club, endless snark in general from MAD, and a Ripped from the Headlines episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent — even Sesame Street got in on making fun of it.
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    • With a $65 million budget, it would have to sell out for three years to break even. The preview period kept getting extended, and finally theater critics had enough and wrote/ran reviews of the February 7, 2011 performance (which, had it not been pushed back again, was supposed to be the official opening date)... most of which were scathing.
    • In response, the producers (finally!) panicked and brought in script doctors, along with having Bono and The Edge write new music. Director (and famous prima donna) Julie Taymor refused to go along with the changes and was either fired or quit. It finally opened in June 2011.
    • In January 2012, the producers suggested that the show might periodically add new scenes and songs to encourage repeat customers. The cautionary tale continued to unfold: Taymor filed suit against the producers and Bono and The Edge, claiming that not only that she was unjustly fired but also that they used her rewrites afterward, without giving her credit.
    • In August 2013, yet another performer was seriously injured during a performance.
    • Then it was the ticket sales that fell to their doom; in November the show was confirmed to be closing in January 2014, with $60 million of the producers' investment due to be lost according to New York magazine.
    • The producers initially intended to reopen the show in Las Vegas in 2015, but decided to launch an arena tour in 2015-16 instead. However, nothing came of it.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Originally, Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming (both of whom have worked with Taymor before) were cast as Mary Jane and the Green Goblin, but the endless delays the show faced getting to the preview period led to both dropping out.
    • The original plot didn't have Arachne function as Peter's Spirit Advisor, but had the actual Arachne from the Greek legend as the Big Bad rather than Green Goblin, with Gobby getting killed off at the end of the first act. Arachne was also the leading lady. She had a song about trying on shoes and a very blatantly Foe Yay-laden scene where she sneaks into Peter's room and sings Turn Off the Dark. She also had two master plans, either of which she would have been perfectly fine with: either have Peter fall in love with her, or have him kill her. Either way, she's freed from her curse.
    • After its closure on Broadway, there were talks that it would be revived either as a tour or a permanent show in Las Vegas, but nothing has come from this.


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