Belfast Telegraph

Much-delayed Spider-Man show opens

The much-delayed first night of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark has finally taken place on New York's Broadway.

U2s Bono and The Edge were behind the show, which had been beset with delays, accidents, poor audience reaction and money woes which had seen director Julie Taymor fired, and then re-hired from the production, rumoured to have cost nearly £50 million..

The show, with music by the two members of U2, was reworked from top to bottom and officially opened after a record-setting preview period.

Among the celebrities on hand for opening night were former US President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea, Matt Damon, Barbara Walters, Cindy Crawford, Jay-Z, Steve Martin, Liam Neeson, Vanessa Redgrave, Spike Lee, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John McEnroe.

The principal cast - Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson, T.V. Carpio as a spider-woman named Arachne, and Patrick Page as the Green Goblin - have been with the production since the tortured beginning.

Bono said he felt humbled following in the footsteps of such songwriters as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart and Irving Berlin. "We found out it's harder than you think," he said about writing a musical.

Spider-Man has broken the record for the longest preview period in Broadway history.

Injuries to several cast members - including a 35-foot fall by a stunt actor playing the web-slinger that left him with a skull fracture and cracked vertebrae - marred the production, as well as the defection of a lead actress after she suffered a concussion.

Many theatre critics grew impatient and their reviews that appeared in early February - a violation of the established agreement by critics to wait for opening night to weigh in - were mostly savage pans.

Producers finally intervened in March, firing Taymor and shutting down the show for four weeks to retool. Taymor was replaced by Philip William McKinley, who directed the Hugh Jackman musical The Boy From Oz, in 2003.

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