Believe it or not, opening night of Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark has finally arrived! The musical spectacular has kept the news desk at Broadway.com busy over the last few months, making headlines with cast changes, opening night delays, injuries and lots of other drama. Through it all, the cast (led by Broadway newcomer Reeve Carney and Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano) and crew persevered, taking a hint from the show’s anthem, “Rise Above.” To mark the show's opening (after a total of 183 previews), Broadway.com looks back at Spider-Man's road to Broadway. Congratulations to the entire team, and enjoy your celebration!
2002: Tony-winning director Julie Taymor of The Lion King and U2’s Bono and the Edge begin their collaboration writing a Spider-Man musical.
February 24, 2009: Spidey sets dates! An official announcement reveals that Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark will begin previews January 16, 2010, at the (previously named) Hilton Theatre, with opening night planned for February 18, 2010. Glen Berger is set to co-write the show's book with Taymor.
June 2009: The first of many delays is announced, as the first preview is pushed back until February 25, 2010.
June 26: Tony winner Alan Cumming (Cabaret) and Hollywood starlet Evan Rachel Wood (Across the Universe, The Wrestler) sign on to star as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin and Mary Jane Watson respectively.
August 9: Work is suspended on the production due to “cash flow problems” by original lead producer David Garfinkle and Hello Entertainment. The production’s budget looms at $40 million, making it the most expensive in Broadway history.
November 16: Rocker Reeve Carney, who met Julie Taymor while playing Prince Ferdinand in her film version of The Tempest (which also starred Alan Cumming as Sebastian) signs on to play the title web-slinger.
January 13, 2010: Michael Cohl, a long time concert promoter for U2, rescues the project, signing on as the new lead producer. The spectacle’s budget is now estimated at $50 million.
March 10: See ya later, Mary Jane! Evan Rachel Wood departs the production due to “a scheduling conflict.”
April 19: Bye, bye Goblin! Alan Cumming also leaves the production for scheduling reasons.
August 16: Getting to work! Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark finally begins rehearsals.
August 19: A new identity: Spidey's future Broadway home is renamed the Foxwoods Theatre in a new deal with the casino company.
August 10: Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano (Next to Normal) is cast as Mary Jane Watson. Grinch veteran Patrick Page will go green again as Norman Osborn. New dates are also announced for the production: Previews will begin on November 14, 2010, with opening night planned for December 21.
September 10: Spidey sings! Audiences get their first taste of the musical as star Reeve Carney and his band debut the song “Boy Falls From the Sky” on Good Morning America.
November 5: Time is Spidey’s newest foe: Because of complicated technical issues, the first performance is pushed back again until November 28, shifting the opening night until January 11, 2011.
November 28: Spider-Man plays its first official preview performance to a sold out crowd. The show runs nearly three and a half hours and stops several times due to mechanical difficulties, including periods in which performers are left hanging above stage during flight sequences.
December 2: Natalie Mendoza, who plays villainess Arachne, misses performances due to an injury sustained during the show’s first preview.
December 6: Busy box office! The show rakes in nearly a $1 million in its first week, playing to 98% capacity after only five performances.
December 17: Delayed again! Opening night is pushed back to February 7, 2011.
December 20: During a preview performance, Spider-Man stunt man Christopher Tierney falls several feet after failing to secure a safety harness. The actor is rushed to a nearby hospital in serious but stable condition. Performances are cancelled until December 23 to implement new safety protocols.
December 21: Julie Taymor speaks out on Tierney’s injury saying, “An accident like this is obviously heartbreaking for our entire team and, of course, to me personally. Nothing is more important than the safety of our Spider-Man family, and we’ll continue to do everything in our power to protect the cast.”
January 3, 2011: Natalie Mendoza officially departs the production. T.V. Carpio, who originally played comic book fan Miss Arrow, assumes the role of Arachne permanently.
January 4: Christopher Tierney makes his first post-injury public appearance on Good Morning America, declaring, “I feel great. I feel fantastic.” Later that night composer Bono (who was busy touring with U2) sees the show for the first time, more than a month into previews.
January 12: Conservative commentator Glenn Beck voices his love for Spider-Man, proclaiming audiences should “give up a kidney” to score tickets.
January 13: Another delay! The show’s opening night is postponed to March 15, with lead producer Michael Cohl promising, “This will be the final postponement.” The budget has ballooned to an estimated $65 million and counting.
February 7: Despite the production’s wishes, many major media outlets publish reviews of the still-in-the-works show.
February 11: Oprah Winfrey becomes the latest celeb to give the show a stamp of approval. Meanwhile, Joan Rivers, Neil Patrick Harris, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson and many more rush to see Spider-Man and pose with Reeve Carney & Co.
March 9: Creative team overhaul! The production announces that The Boy From Oz director Phillip William McKinley will take over the production, with Julie Taymor retaining credit as original director. Playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa also signs on to re-work the book. Bono issues a statement expressing his "absolute faith" in the show, adding, "All of us on the creative team are committed to taking Spider-Man to the next level. We are confident it will reach its full potential and when it does, it will open."
March 11: Time out! Spider-Man producers announce that the show will shut down for three weeks to integrate changes from the new creative team.
March 15: Playing its 98th preview, Spider-Man surpasses Jackie Mason’s 1969 play, A Teaspoon Every Four Hours, setting a new record for most preview performances played on Broadway.
March 24: Even more crew changes! Choreographer Daniel Ezralow is replaced by Chase Brock. The show's “Geek Chorus” teen narrators are eliminated from the show, and actors Mat Devine, Gideon Glick, Alice Lee and Jonathan Schwartz (playing characters inspired by Bono, The Edge, Julie Taymor and Glen Berger) are let go.
April 17: Julie Taymor’s original version plays its final performance as the show shuts down for its planned three week hiatus.
May 12: Spider-Man returns to Broadway with the production billed as “new" and "reimagined.” Villainess Arachne’s role (including "Deeply Furious," a second act number involving shoes) and much of the mythological elements of show have been scaled back. The Green Goblin's role is enlarged, with a climactic battle between the villain and Spidey moved to the end of the show.
May 25: A nationwide audience of more than 20 million viewers sees Bono, The Edge and Reeve Carney perform “Rise Above” on the season 10 finale of American Idol.
June 12: Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano cozy up onstage at the 65th annual Tony Awards to sing the ballad “If the World Should End.” Not surprisingly, the show is the butt of 30 seconds of jokes by the ceremony's host, Neil Patrick Harris.
June 14: It’s finally here! Spider-Man's opening night performance at the Foxwoods Theatre attracts a starry crowd. (On the opening night tip sheet: Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson, Jimmy Fallon, Steve Martin and former President Bill Clinton.)