23 National Nightmares We’ve Already Overcome

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Courtesy: Deen van Meer

#8: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

With music by Bono, book and direction by Julie Taymor, and the instantly recognizable and for some reason constantly re-adaptable charm of a spider SLASH man, this musical seemed promising. But, guys? That this show actually made it to Broadway in one piece is astounding; that everyone made it there alive is a MIRACLE.

There were so many setbacks in this show’s relatively short-lived career, a middle school science fair poster-boarded timeline of events would be warranted. But I’ll just lay out a few highlights here instead. The book and score were significantly and frequently revamped during the show’s preview period. (For those unaware: Broadway shows have preview weeks wherein the show isn’t technically open yet and can still work through issues, but is playing for audiences.) With swinging and stage combat and men becoming half spider, accidents happened. Cast members got injured. They were forced to halt previews for a month, during which the show’s director, Taymor, was forced out of the production. The show ended up opening to mixed reviews after the longest preview period in Broadway history, and closed three years later, having failed to recoup the millions of dollars spent on webs and, let’s face it, probably insurance. This was a tough and ridiculous time for theatre-goers and spidermen alike, but for every Turn Off the Dark, there exists a Hamilton. 

Also, the title is nothing. Nice try, I guess, but…what?