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U2 Bringing Spider-man to Broadway 110

Music Juice writes "A Broadway musical based on the web-slinging superhero is in the works, Marvel Studios said Friday. It will be directed by Tony winner Julie Taymor with new music and lyrics by U2 frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge. The musical will be the first time a Marvel Comics character has been the subject of a show on Broadway, the company said. No opening date was announced, but Marvel said a reading would take place this summer. "
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U2 Bringing Spider-man to Broadway

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  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:23AM (#18839295) Homepage
    Hopefully they'll run this past some test audiences before really launching. The Lord of the Rings musical disaster shows that musicals epic in scale can't depend on their multi-million dollar special effects to be successful when the plot itself drags and the dialogue is clunky.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Have you actually seen [] the LOTR musical? I saw it the first week it opened in Toronto, and actually liked it! Critics are critics because they think they are intelligent enough that they can pick apart something. I was entertained, I felt it was well worth the money for the trip and I was very impressed with the show. Tear it apart all you want, but you just proved to me that all you did was just read a few news snippets and drew uninformed conclusions...
      • by Ucklak ( 755284 )
        Public ritics are meaningless when it comes to art.
        Art is a personal taste and a critic has no place to tell me if I should like something or not. I really don't care if they like it or not.

        Critics in the time of Richard Wagner and Georges Bizet time hated their music. Where are those critics now and who were they?
        • We have critics because some people don't have time to go see and evaluate for themselves every show, song, movie, book, painting, sculpture, etc. that is ever produced by the human race. Choices have to be made. Critics are useful in that regard because they can go see every show, or listen to every song, in fact that is their full-time job. They then evaluate what they see, hear, read, etc., purely based of course upon their own opinions. So the proper way to use critics is to read critical reviews of
      • I saw it opening week in Toronto too. And I was bored. I'm not particularly a musical kind of guy, but I know I preferred the others I'd seen. "The show goes ooooooooonnnn....and on and on and oooooooooooooonnnnnnnn"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! ( 33014 )
      The problem with this stuff is when you try to create a commercial success. On one level it seems like a sure bet: translating popular culture onto the musical stage should result in a popular musical.

      The problem is that this kind material doesn't work in the context of a Broadway or London musical. Doom and destiny are not things that make workable drama: drama is about characters making choices about things that mainly affect themselves. It isn't about characters whose decisions have mainly cosmic impl
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ch1a ( 168446 )
      I agree completely with the comment about epic musicals. You just can't substitute special effects for artistic vision. However they can be commercial and artistic successes - look at Les Miserables, which has been derided recently but opened to very positive reviews.

      Julie Taymor is one of the best impressionistic stage directors out there. If this fails, I promise that it will not be because the production is too realistic and relies on big-budget special effects.

      She tends to rely on puppets and imagery
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:26AM (#18839315)
    When I see things like this, I have to wonder if it's on there because it's a great story with a great Broadway adaptation or is it on there because it has been repopularized by the recent movies & they're hoping to make another quick buck?

    All too often, I think it's the latter or merely proof that you can throw enough money at something to make it happen on Broadway.
    • When I see things like this, I have to wonder if it's on there because it's a great story with a great Broadway adaptation or is it on there because it has been repopularized by the recent movies & they're hoping to make another quick buck?

      When I see things like this, I tag them "thatwillsuck".

    • If it were Andrew Lloyd Webber in the driver's seat, I'd go for the money-sucking angle.

      However, it's Julie Taymor [] directing, and hopefully involved in the development as well. She did wonders for the Lion King. And her cinematic directing has resulted in some really cool movies too, such as Titus and Frida.

      Though some of the coolest stuff she's done was her pre-Lion King puppet work.

      I, for one, welcome our Green Goblin puppet overlords.
      • I agree that the only way to make this work would be to go the Lion King route.

        Have to make it puppets but decide and stick to the adult puppets like Lion King or go for the kids. It would be pretty near impossible to mix them - we would have a disaster.
  • by MrP-(at work) ( 839979 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:26AM (#18839319)
  • Ahh, is there no place Spiderman (And Bono) can't go?
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:27AM (#18839331)
    Come on, the Peter Parker story is an interesting one by comic book and action film standards. But is it really the kind of thing which will translate well to the stage? Spiderman flying around on a harness like Peter Pan is going to HAVE to be campy. How on earth would you play that seriously? A lot of the "cheats" of the film (special FX, CGI, explosions) are not going to be available and the Peter Parker story can only carry you so far.

    Though, admittedly, this is a place where a play with actors dressed as cats ran for decades.

    • I think if anyone can pull this off though it's Julie Tamor. She has a rare visual genius. If you need proof just watch Frida. I know that's a movie, but from what excepts of her adaptation of the Lion King she managed to take a cartoon about animals and portray it on stage without really cheesy costumes. What she also showed in Frida was deep understanding not just of the characters, but more importantly how to communicate the complexities of the character to an audience in an approachable and intrigui
    • Why not make it campy? One of the main things that always set Spider-Man apart in his early days was his sense of humour (before they threw that aside to pile on more angst.)
    • Cats succeeded for any number of reasons:

      1) Based on the works of T.S Eliot, aka real literature. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

      2) Innovative concept and execution

      3) Book and lyrics by talented writers

      Granted, Cats isn't Cabaret or Phantom of the Opera, which I think are musically superior and thematically deeper. It is, however, important, both on its own technical merit and as the longest running Broadway Musical in history. By contrast, a musical of a movie of a comic book, as produced by activist
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:33AM (#18839383)
    At least where I live, people don't stand around on street corners singing at each other. Broadway musicals and opera need a more mythical story than Spiderman to work with. West Side Story notwithstanding.
    • by Miseph ( 979059 )
      I think you've kinda missed the point of musicals and opera. Obviously nobody runs around singing through their problems in real life, but a large number of people (I would venture to say "most") relate to music in very emotional ways. the reason that musicals and operas work is that they intertwine music, with all of its emotional meta-data, into the drama such that both are considerably more significant to the audience. By the way, "straight" movies do this too, by having distinctive music in the backg
    • Broadway musicals and opera need a more mythical story than Spiderman to work with.

      Um, not sure if you are familiar with opera - the theater genre, as opposed to the browser. Mythical? While many of the best modern, baroque and classical operas from Monteverdi and Purcell onwards do have mythical themes, most of the works popularly shown today have far from mythical themes. La Boheme - for example (or "Rent" in it's even more dumbed down and mundane than the original form) is just a tragic love story. No

    • by Kelson ( 129150 ) *
      Once I found out someone had turned Jekyll and Hyde into a musical (early 1990s), I figured anything was fair game.
  • by shotgunsaint ( 968677 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:34AM (#18839391)
    I could be convinced to go see this, if U2 hadn't been involved. My gods, everything these guys have done since the Joshua Tree has been utterly inane and lame pop-crap. I don't want poor, innocent Peter Parker getting all mixed up with these self-important dolts.
    • Look at it from the bright side; Bono and The Edge will be stuck on a single scene for as long as this play is rolling =P
    • Dude, Joshua Tree is U2's weakest, pop-most point. They're not self-important, they're farquing brilliant!
    • Uno, dosh, tresh, catorshe! You know, i feel the same way - i keep getting the "but how can you not like them? it's U2!" look whenever i comment this in front of people. Their two latest albums, particularly, are laughably bad.

      Anyway, i'm interested in how they plan to fit the Spiderman story into a Broadway musical... it's a comic book after all, and i don't know how well that could work without Spidey jumping arround and shooting spiderwebs arround the stage.
    • HTDAAB was not pop at all. It brought back a lot of the more clssic rock sounds. Probably there best CD. I found it to be better then Joshua tree. However, Jopshua tree has a lot of memories tied up into it for me, so I probably listen to it more.
    • Achtung Baby's a classic. Zooropa was ok. At least it was different. I agree that everything since then has been complete shit, though. I don't know why you dismiss U2's latest stuff as "pop-crap". They've always been playing simple pop music, it's just that their recent simple pop music sucks.
  • Might be worth it... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dominique_cimafranca ( 978645 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:43AM (#18839457) Homepage
    ...just to hear Bono's rendition of the Spider-Man theme song. "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can...." Acrobatics aside, the Spider-Man story does have very operatic themes: ambition, death of a parental figure, revenge, and of course, responsibility. So who knows? For the record, Superman was produced as a Broadway musical in 1966, though it only had a very short run. More on Wikipedia. []
  • by Gerocrack ( 979018 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:44AM (#18839459)
    The original run of "Rent" ended with The Punisher killing all the other characters with a flamethrower.
    • Plus, he got HIV.
    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )
      My God, that would have made the rest of that ghastly musical worth it to watch.

      You know you're in trouble when the Matt Stone/Trey Parker parody of your show is far superior to the original.
  • by lbmouse ( 473316 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:47AM (#18839473) Homepage
    Pickpocketers, con men and muggers, mark your calendars. There'll be some easy-juicy targets. You'll just have to catch them before their parents pick them up.
    • by CamD ( 964822 )
      I don't know about the pickpockets. Their targets' pockets will be well protected.
  • Cant be ANY worse than that POS that people actually think will be the next Wicked (Its not and never will be)
  • He's the creator and has every right to monetize his creation as much as possible but a broadway play? Why not a musical? does he have no integrity left?

    This is why I went back to DC (Darkhorse) comics in the early 90s when I was still an avid comic book reader... the Marvel stories had gone all disney and merchandising on me. This is like Lucas rewriting the star wars history to include Jar Jar and adding Mitochlorians to explain the force... bullshit for the masses with no imagination. It's like when Teen
    • It "Mitochondria" not "Mitochlorians"

      Just FYI
      • You're mixing up real organelles with fictional something-or-others. Midi-chlorians. []

        This news saddens me. My love for Spider-Man knows no bounds, yet my hatred of musicals, travelling, and spending money is almost as great. Woe. Woe.

    • Eastman and Laird created The TMNT as a spoof of Frank Miller's characters. If they had stayed true to Eastman & Laird's vision, then TMNT never would have risen above a niche comic that only fanboys are aware of.

      There ARE times when toning down the original concept is the only way to bring the concept to a larger audience, however, "Spiderman on Broadway" is just bastardizing one niche character to make a buck in a completely unrelated niche.

    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )
      He's the creator and has every right to monetize his creation as much as possible but a broadway play? Why not a musical? does he have no integrity left?

      Look around for some commercials for the superhero reality show he's chairing now. I would say the answer is 'no.'

  • Looks like Slashdot got ahold of the Family Guy writing staff []. Manatees pushing balloons... U2 doing Spider-Man on Broadway... ha, what WILL they think of next?
  • It's not just Spiderman the movie, the musical. This production has sprouted balloon feet and a propeller out of its head as it makes its way to crazy town.

    From Playbill []:

    The character breakdowns provide some insight to plot points as the character Arachne ("female, 20-35 years old, any ethnicity") is described as "a beautiful, boastful young woman turned into a spider for her hubris and lack of respect for the gods. She subsequently appears to Peter Parker and the audience as in turn a powerful spider-woman

  • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @10:10AM (#18839733) Journal
    I'm still waiting for "Planet of the Apes, The Musical" [].

    It's too late for April Fools jokes isn't it?

  • by sxltrex ( 198448 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @10:17AM (#18839847)
    To quote Lisa Simpson:

    "I know those words, but that sentence makes no sense to me."
  • This has to be the best April's Fool this year.

    I mean, come on, nobody is stupid enough to make a spiderman musical, right?
  • didn't Marvel learn after the debacle that was Captain America the Musical? They even had ads in the comics back then saying you could possibly star in it alongside Cap. Of course, it never made it to the stage.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the Batman musical Jim Steinman wrote.
  • I'm still waiting for the Captain America Broadway show. I remember the ads from either the late 80s or early 90s. There was even a contest where the prize was a part in the show, although I seem to remember that they wanted a girl in the role.
  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) * on Monday April 23, 2007 @10:36AM (#18840061) Homepage Journal

    Spider man's broadway debue now on YouTube

    Web slinger becomes web singer.

  • by paleo2002 ( 1079697 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @10:48AM (#18840191)
    Don't get me wrong, I've been enjoying most of the Marvel movies as much as the average SF/comic geek. Spiderman 2 was probably one of the few sequels I've ever seen that was better than the original. But can no one in the entertainment industry come up with an original frickin' idea?!?! Name three hit musicals from the past 10 years that weren't revivals or movie adaptations. The musical is one of the few unique American cultural contributions. We can honestly say that the musical (like Jazz and the internet) is an American invention. Now we have a theatre industry controlled by the over-commericialized mass media, whose investors are looking for a "sure thing". A multi-million-dollar box office hit that'll sell sountrack albums and t-shirts and keep the groundlings enthralled for years. I don't mean to sound elitist. For example, I think Disney musicals are an excellent way to promote appreciation for theatre amongst children. But, come on! What happened to original stories? What happened to character-driven drama? Did all those starving playwrights and composers actually die off? How do we go from West Side Story, The King and I, and Cabaret to Big, Legally Blonde, and Spiderman?
    • by jshark ( 623406 )
      Avenue Q third one...
      • Always tell someone to "name three". My point is that there is an undeniable decline in the quality of musical theatre as of late. I realize that one generation's pop-culture is another's Shakespeare and I am certainly no expert in theatre history. But, does anyone here think that art/literature students 200 years from now are going to be studying Spiderman: The Musical as closely as we study Othello?
    • We can honestly say that the musical (like Jazz and the internet) is an American invention.

      I call bullshit on that. While America can claim most of the blame for musical theatre, the English share much of the guilt, Gilbert and Sullivan were making musical comedies in the early 1870s which were as like today's musical theater as anything that existed at the time. In fact, up tempo English language operas had long runs on London stages when Broadway still lay within the British Empire in the mid eighteenth century.

      In fact, though America invented the Internet, nobody apart from esoteric academi

    • Angels in America
    • by ch1a ( 168446 )

      What happened to original stories? [...] How do we go from West Side Story, The King and I, and Cabaret to Big, Legally Blonde, and Spiderman?

      So all three of those shows are actually adaptations as well:

      West Side Story is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet
      The King and I is adapted from Landon's "Anna and the King of Siam"
      Cabaret is adapted from Van Druten's play "I Am a Camera" and its source material, Isherwood's "The Berlin Stories"

      I'm not claiming that Big and Legally Blonde are good shows, but just because a show is adapted from a movie doesn't mean they're bad.

      The Full Monty and Thoroughly Modern Mille are some the better new musicals of thi

      • The avant-garde musical theater you're talking about is out there, it's just been pushed underground in the past 20 years.

        Okay, now it's official. No matter what the topic, there's *someone* on slashdot who's really into it. I mean, avant-garde musicals?? <shudder>

    • What happened to original stories? What happened to character-driven drama? Did all those starving playwrights and composers actually die off? How do we go from West Side Story, The King and I, and Cabaret to Big, Legally Blonde, and Spiderman?

      "Original stories . . . ." Let's see, now:

      West Side Story -- Romeo and Juliet

      The King and I -- Anna and the King of Siam

      Cabaret -- Berlin Stories

      Adaptation has been a major part of the theater from its inception. Shakespeare never really came up with an orig

  • ...Mary Martin in Peter Pan?.

    I bet viewers thrilled by the exhilarating feeling of watching Spiderman swing hundreds of meters from skyscraper to skyscraper, from a near-first-person point of view in full 35mm definition on a huge cinema screen are going to love watching him hoisted by visible wires from the fly tower, while singing Broadway-pop paeans to adolescent angst.
  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:39AM (#18840951) Homepage Journal
    Being that U2 knows jack sh!t about theatrical productions and are only writing the score and lyrics, I don't see why they should be credited for anything more than that.

    Julie Taymore is a theatrical genius with many Stage and Film productions under her belt. And she will be the one responsible for bringing the work as a whole to fruition. Her artiistic vision will be driving everyting from costume and set design to cast selection and direction. And yes, she will even have a large say and input into the work that U2 produces for her production.

    I don't know if any of you have seen Titus, but I suggest you check that out, since she has a knack for giving her productions a strong artistic signature and I'm certain this wont be any different. Which means that quite a few die hard fans will probably hate it because it will not be literal from canon.
    • Everybody has heard of U2, very few people know Julie Taymor*. I would even say for every 1,000,000 people that have heard of U2, may 1 has heard of Julie Taymor.

      WHy is this important? because plays need money. So when a play goes to people outside it's little community someone that people have heard about is very important.

      "And she will be the one responsible for bringing the work as a whole to fruition."
      ummmmm... no. It takes many people to bring a broadway play to fruition. You can be the best ring maste
  • just gross. that sounds like a painful and sad debacle for all.
  • Quiet show (Score:3, Funny)

    by Necron69 ( 35644 ) <> on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:50AM (#18841159)
    (cue music)

    Spiderman: Mfffff!!!!!!!

    Director: CUT!!! WTH? Why is his mouth all covered up?

    - Necron69
  • Is he strong? Listen, bud. He's got radioactive blood. Watch out! Here comes the spiderman.
  • That's the most horrible thing I've ever read. I believe I'll never know joy again.
  • I'm confused, did it become a requirement to poo-poo everything just to comment on /.? Why does this idea suck?

    Musicals don't take away cool points from Spidey. And whats wrong with abstract interpretations or existing works? Salvador Dali's L'Enphanta Margarita was brilliant, even though it had already been done. U2 are great musicians, I'd certainly rather listen to them then sleep through Cats! again. Seriously - I do not see what everyone's issue is.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      It doesn't suck. The spider-man comics(and most popular comics) have some powerfull themes rapped up in them.
      I suspect the people poo pooing this are peope that can't see beyond somesome spider guy beating up some other guy aspect of Spider-Man.

      Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there are other appraoches to telling the story of a powerfull outcast.
  • Why doesn't he just travel on a normal passenger jet like everyone else? Bloody show-off!
  • Never really expected to see those words (U2, Spiderman, Broadway) in the same sentence. Now I have.
  • Green Goblin threw her from great heights
    I couldn't save her, not with all my spider might
    Now my darling Gwen is dead
    And when there's green before me, all I see is red

    Stacey, bloody Stacey
    Stacey, bloody Stacey
  • I, for one, welcome Spiderman's coming out. From hiding. It's about time he stopped trying to deny... that he existed. And it's obvious from the undertones... that the harmony will be fantastic. Of course, Mary Jane will be sorely disappointed... since she prefers opera to musicals. But I am not afraid to say that I would take Spiderman anytime and anywhere... he needed to go.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel