SPIDER-MAN Musical: 'Surefire Hit' or 'Epic Flop'?

TURN OFF THE DARK Reaction Mixed

And you thought the Clone Saga was polarizing.

Previews began Sunday night for the long-awaited, much-delayed, highest-budget-in-Broadway-musical-history Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, with reaction ranging from “surefire smash hit” to “epic flop.”

Patrick Healy of the New York Times provided a detailed review of the Julie Taymor-directed production, reporting that the production was halted four times in the first act and five times total — the bad kind of showstopper — due to technical difficulties. After the fifth stop, Healy wrote that a particularly vocal audience member exclaimed, “I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today — I feel like it’s a dress rehearsal,” which was reportedly met with boos.

Healy reported that the majority of the flying stunts were executed without incident, “with children and some adults squealing in delight” during the more than three-hour long show. (Also, are we sure this picture from the NYT article isn’t borrowed from the Onion?)

As these things tend to happen, the New York Post was much less generous, with writer Michael Riedel using the aforementioned term “epic flop,” with the audience griping over a “dull score and baffling script.”

Gina Salamone of the New York Daily News apparently polled a different section of the audience, as according to her the consensus was that Turn Off the Dark is “a surefire smash hit despite some kinks.”

Bono and Edge composed the music for Turn Off the Dark, and U2 fans have also chipped in with their opinion about the show. On fansite AtU2.com, Sherry Lawrence wrote that the music is “solid,” and specifically praised the work of Patrick Page as the Green Goblin.

Lawrence wasn’t so positive overall, though, criticizing the story for being “very disjointed with a very ambitious plot” and stating “it's hard for me encourage people from out of town to spend serious money to travel to New York City and pay upwards of $300 for a pair of tickets for this show.”

Over on Twitter, fan @nyindieguy had a similar take on the plot, calling it “basically incoherent” while praising the “spectacular” set pieces.

Ain’t It Cool News has two thorough fan reviews, which both arrive at a similar conclusion: nice to look at, weak story. Both of those reviews also provide the clearest look at the actual plot of the musical, including the role of newly created character Arachne and that the unconventional lineup of Carnage, Kraven, Swarm, Electro, Lizard and previously introduced new character Swiss Miss comprise Turn Off the Dark’s Sinister Six. (Also, Swarm being a character in a the biggest-budget Broadway musical in history has to be one of the more surprising things in the course of human existence.)

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark stars Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane. Six more weeks of previews are planned before the official opening night on January 11, 2011.

Also Sunday evening, 60 Minutes aired a lengthy piece on the musical. View that below:

Will you make it out to NYC for SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK?

Twitter activity