Friday, January 7, 2011

This week's LVW Col: Spider-Man and Vegas

Here's the first Strip Sense column of 2011 for the Las Vegas Weekly. Enjoy. -sf

Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ is proof
Vegas does shows right


Last month when Miles and I were hunting around for shows to see while in New York City, a theater journalist mentioned Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark among the possibilities. I asked whether it was any good and he snarked: “Oh, it’s crap and nothing you haven’t seen Cirque do better.”

Or, it turns out, a heck of a lot safer.

This exchange occurred before a highly publicized rash of horrific accidents in front of audiences during previews turned an already troubled $60 million Broadway production into a full-scale catastrophe-in-the-making. One stunt double broke both wrists; another broke a toe; an ensemble member fell more than 20 feet into the orchestra pit when his cable detached from his harness; and a lead actress quit on December 30, a month after enduring a concussion when smacked in the head by equipment.

It’s an astonishing turn of events for the Great White Way’s most expensive show ever, one that was already producing pretty awful buzz. A veteran Vegas actor who saw it last week told me that he desperately tried to find something good about it—maybe some of the staging by Julie Taymor of Lion King fame, or the music by U2’s Bono and The Edge—but ultimately he declared it “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

And then he said this: “It just looks so unsafe. My palms were sweaty the whole time.”

That’s a huge problem.

Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com