Tonight, the comic book web slinger finally faces the music when Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark makes its long-anticipated official opening on Broadway. Since preview performances began November 28, 2010, the mega-budgeted tuner has faced technical glitches, performer injuries, unsanctioned reviews, the replacement of its marquee director, The Lion King‘s Julie Taymor, and a major script overhaul accomplished during an unprecedented three dark weeks of rehearsal. (The New York Times today featured a very revealing and humble interview with composers Bono and The Edge that is a fascinating look behind the scenes.) Now, to what must be extreme joy from the steadfast cast and crew, the show has been frozen (i.e. no more changes) and all the chatter can be about the merits of what is on stage.
What is on stage? I haven’t seen it yet but Entertainment Weekly posted a list of changes in the script and score, all new since it reopened to preview audiences under replacement director, Philip William McKinley. The big question is, when reviews hit after the performance tonight, can Spider-Man stage the kind of heroic comeback that usually only happens in action movies?
Rising above bad buzz and killer technical issues isn’t unheard of in the theater biz. For inspiration, let’s look at the top three recent Broadway comeback tales: