SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark, the most ambitious production ever undertaken on Broadway with original direction by Julie Taymor and music by U2's Bono and The Edge, is currently in previews at the Foxwoods Theatre on West 43rd Street. After struggling to find its voice since beginning previews in the fall of 2010, director Philip William McKinley, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and choreographer Chase Brock were brought onto the creative team by lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris to help implement new staging, book rewrites, and additional choreography, respectively. The show is on track to open on June 14, 2011 after several delays.
BroadwayWorld recently got some one-on-one time with McKinley, the newest captain of the SPIDER-MAN ship, entrusted with revamping Julie Taymor's original vision into the worldwide commercial success the team hopes the show will become. Speaking candidly, McKinley talked about how he approached his new role.
McKinely revealed: "I had a great advantage coming into this situation where I had free advice from the critics- it was already there. So I knew what their comments were. I knew what the bloggers' comments were, not necessarily because I read all of them, but because the producers had compiled all of that material from bloggers, from critics, from the audience. So I had the advantage of all that material before me to say, ‘now how do we develop the show?' and ‘how do we reconstruct and reimagine the show to meet those goals?'"
On being the second to step into director's shoes for the show, he added, "You can't deny that Julie is a main part of the show and her vision is still there on the stage. I would never want to give that up. I spoke to Julie very briefly and said ‘I'm here to honor your work' which is another reason why she stayed on directing it, because she put a great deal of time into it and her work is certainly an evidence on the stage."
"I think what's different about this particular musical event on Broadway is that it does break the template of a musical theatre piece in the sense that we often times believe in musical theatre that the song should further the storyline. And that is not necessarily the case in this. We're taking pop music- and the nature of pop music is to elevate an emotional feeling."
As for what changes to expect from the re-vamped production, McKinely revealed: "The first act very much follows the path of what we fondly call SPIDER-MAN 1.0. Act 2 is completely different. There's a brand new opening, which we are actually re-staging on Thursday- so we're still working on it!"
He continued, "I've said this before and I will probably continue to say this always- one of the major reasons that I decided to come and to this show was because I had heard how far this cast had come. I knew they had the fortitude, the courage, the dedication to do this, because they had already been through the fire."
To catch BroadwayWorld's full interview with McKinley, click here!
Inspired by over 40 years of Marvel comic books, SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose unremarkable life is turned upside-down when he's bitten by a genetically altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to his bedroom ceiling. This bullied science-geek suddenly endowed with incredible powers soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility as villains put both his physical strength and strength of character to the test.The official opening night of the new SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark is set for Tuesday, June 14th at the Foxwoods Theatre (213 West 42nd Street). Tickets are now on sale through October 2, 2011, with group tickets on sale through January 8, 2012.
Tickets for SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark are priced from $67.50 - $135 for weekday performances and $67.50 - $140 for weekend performances and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (877) 250-2929 . Tickets are also available at the Foxwoods Theatre box office, which is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.