Every first Wednesday of the month, get caught up on what’s new on stage with a review round-up. And that vaguely hollow, clinking sound you hear at the end of each segment? That’s me tossing in my two cents.
With the spring season about to ramp up, I thought I’d offer a sneak peek edition of “To See or Not to See” featuring a critical look at two shows that are up and running (or tumbling into the pit) and a tease for the three shows I’m most excited to catch in the months ahead.
Following multiple delays and bruised bodies (as well as egos), the bank-busting, comic book musical—directed by The Lion King‘s Julie Taymor and with music by U2′s Bono and The Edge—still hasn’t officially opened. But that hasn’t stopped most major critics from piling on like a spandex sale at the Justice League.
“Spider-Man is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.” New York Times
“An inconsistent, maddening show that’s equal parts exciting and atrocious.” New York Post
“It’s by turns hyperstimulated, vivid, lurid, overeducated, underbaked, terrifying, confusing, distracted, ridiculously slick, shockingly clumsy, unmistakably monomaniacal and clinically bipolar. But never, ever boring.” New York Magazine
“Beyond the offstage drama and lavish budget, and all the feats and flash accompanying them, lies an endearingly old-fashioned musical.” USA Today
Mizer’s Two Cents: If you love stagecraft, go for the jaw-dropping mixture of high tech wizardry and classic theater/puppetry techniques. And now with reports spreading that major reworking is about to happen (with script and music doctors), this could be a truly fascinating chance to see a new show being built before our eyes. But, at Broadway ticket prices, this graduate level theater class won’t come cheap. All that being said, I do hope folks can take a step back from some of the more sensational talk about the working conditions. One of the guys in charge of the flying harnesses actually flew me for a year when I was on tour and he would have thrown himself in front of a two ton set piece to protect me. Whatever stories have been spread, I’d wager my life savings that the crew of this show is doing everything humanly possible to ensure the safety of the performers.
UPDATE: NY1 is reporting that Julie Taymor is out as director. What a tangled web, indeed.