Spidey Smackdown: Zero Budget ‘Spidey Project’ vs. ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’

How much money do you need to make a musical about Spider-Man? Julie Taymor says $65 million; humorist and playwright Justin Moran says $0. How much time does it take to make a musical about Spider-Man? Taymor: Eight zillion years and counting. Moran: 30 days, start to finish. Bring out the white gloves, because someone’s getting challenged to a duel!

As a reaction to the increasingly frustrating Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Justin Moran has endeavored the worthy undertaking of what he has dubbed The Spidey Project: writing, rehearsing and performing a fully-realized musical about everyone’s favorite web-slinger with no money and in 30 days. And it’s not a parody, either; Moran and his team are using the origin story from the original “The Amazing Spider Man” comics and are treating the thing as serious theatre artists, not just as comedians (though knowing Moran’s history as an improv guy and creator of Fringe Festival favorite POPE! The Musical!, there will probably be a healthy dose of humor). Also, with tickets costing as much as the show did– that is, a big whopping nothing– Moran is making his Spider-Man available to more than just the upper echelons of society, so us plebeians aren’t going to have to pay our first-born children to see it. There have been no delays over the course of its creation, and it will go up on March 14th at The People’s Improv Theater come hell or high water. Justin Moran, I applaud your theatrical philosophy: show the world that it IS possible to produce a full-scale musical on time and under budget and still tell a cracking good story while you’re at it!

Taymor’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, on the other hand, has had a lot of problems. Understatement of the year, I know; it’s one of the big reasons we’ve all loved to hate on it. Incredibly, the problems just keep coming, too: the show is allegedly opening in just about a week, but it’s just been fined for three more serious safety violations, and there have been rumors floating around that it may be delayed yet again. At this rate, that damn thing is never going to turn off the dark; honestly, I’m half-convinced it’s going to close before it even opens. And on top of all that, every report that has come in about the show, from critical reviews to word-of-mouth, is saying pretty much the same thing, and that thing is: I had NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON FOR THE ENTIRE SHOW. Three hours seems like an awfully long time to be clueless, don’t you think?

You can reach this post's author, Lucia Peters, on twitter.
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