Archive | February, 2011

Spiderman on Broadway – Huhwhahnow?

13 Feb

Bagging out Spiderman-Turn off the Dark is, well, let’s face it,  so, like, February 7. Duh.

That was the date Ben Brantley from the NY Times posted his savage review of a show still in previews and S.T.O.T.D became blog heroin (It was merely high grade coke to this point) for every snark and Wilde wanna be. (Which is all of us)

Should a show still in previews be reviewed? Honestly, who gives a shit when it’s Spiderman TotDee. It’s dumb as bat-shit. The producers can stamp their feet about art and the fair-deal-tweak agreement of a preview run, but meh, c’mon, it’s hard to tweak a twinkie. Even a $60mill twinkie. Especially a $60 mill twinkie.

It’s very tempting, and quite difficult not to be snarky about S.T.O.T.D. The first act has a slew, a great, bloated f’ing slew of almost indescribably awful scenes. If they were improvised, you’d have your head in your hands in embarrassment for the performers, but someone wrote this, cast this and built and directed it!? The embarrassment thus, at interval, verges on rampaging cynicism. They’ve got to have planned for it to be this, well, stupid…right?

But even to call S.T.O.T.D stupid is to risk a wry, Oh, you mean Nicholas Cage running in slo-mo type stupid nod of the head. Stupid is not a word worthy of elevation. ACT I of this show is about as bad as it gets.

Yeah, there’s the flying around above your head and all that business, which is somehow both clumsy and thrilling, but mostly masochistic given the track record of injuries.

There’s the fatal flaw that a superhero narrative really doesn’t support the heightened reality of a musical. The heightened reality IS the superherosim. It’s a double/double cancel out.

There’s a score by U2 that just doesn’t bring anything.

There’s the skull f’ingly dull repeating of the origin story. It could have been covered with a tight opening number. That’s what musicals can do. Ta da da da daa! Bang!


Pfft I say at interval. Pfft to you and your endless revenue of knucklehead ideas.

But, then, in ACT II, something quite strange happens. It’s nothing to do with the plot, which remains fairly well deranged.

It’s a moment, a simple moment, an elegant moment, of clear musical theatre. It both serves as show-stopping number and sharpens the mythology of the story-at-hand. It’s the hero-must-decide-his-destiny song, The Boy Who Fell from the sky. For four blessed minutes, all the fireworks, costumes and zip-lines and shit are abandoned for a single performer singing his desires out to the audience while a posse of prowling spidermen dance and shift closer behind him.

It’s one of those jaw-dropping theatre hits that only musicals can do. It is, sublime.

Then it becomes clear. Even a sixty mill beast is basically just people with notepads and ideas sitting around a table, pitching them, staging them, hoping they work.

I hope Spiderman runs for a couple of years and breaks even at least…and then slides around the world as the arena spectacular it clearly means to be. There, at least, in The Rod Laver Arena, the expectation of dramatic involvement will be zero, and maybe that one moment of clarity can find a brighter light to shine in.


Things to do when not sleeping

8 Feb

Jet-lag is a brute. Each time I come to NY it seems to take longer to adjust. Each night/morning, I wake, bright as a cherry at 4am; and slowly sag to formaldehyde blue by daylight.

4am is around the  “The Hour of the Wolf.”  Sounds; like you become some indigenous super-hero transformer dude, astral travelling to the karmic realms and kicking the shit out of unicorns, but actually it’s just when your body temperature is lowest, your sleep supposedly deepest and your body at its most vulnerable. If you are going to die in your sleep, this is the most likely time.

Also, should a wolf attack, he would win.

But being unnecessarily awake also creates time. Time for stuff to be done. I tell you, if you could survive on three hours sleep a night, you’d rule….I dunno…someplace.

Some productive things I’ve done in absence of sleep:

– mispronounced genre nine different ways in my podcast.

-Lost 1.8 virtual million dollars on Facebook Poker, so played Jetman instead.

-Googled Poe and tried to commit The Raven to memory.  There’s a bird right?

-Downloaded three or four years worth of podcasts. If you like The Philosophy Zone, you may also like BigTittycast.

-Watched the nice Indian man open his donut store and wondered if it was creepy for me to be first there every morning.

– Sat silently and stared at  Leah as she slept. (Also on guard for wolves)

It’s daylight now. Sleep genie is stroking my eye-lids, but I gotta stay hard. We’re heading down to try for  Rush tickets for Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, which, I’m trusting I will love.

I mean, $60mill/ Super-hero/Musical.

Clearly I’m not the only one with ideas at 4am.