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A note here to follow up on a Michael Sansolo column of a few weeks ago that talked about the experience of the new Broadway musical, “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark,” which has been a creative disaster in many ways as actors have gotten injured, equipment has malfunctioned, and the critics were vicious in their assessments. (Making it worse has been the fact that “Spider-Man” has not officially opened, though it has been in previews - charging full price - as the producers try to fix its various problems.

Sansolo’s point was that on Broadway, as well as in business, a great pedigree and all the right ingredients don’t always add up to a successful result - and that the fundamental premise has to be as sound as the implementation if you are going to be successful.

MNB received numerous emails responding to the column, many of them from people who had seen - and enjoyed - “Spider-Man,” and who seemed to think that Sansolo’s criticisms were an example of the media elite not really getting what audiences want and like.

Well, several weeks later, “Spider-Man” is still in previews, still charging full price for its tickets, and has hired a new musical director “to help improve the performance, vocal and orchestration arrangements, and sound quality of the songs and numbers,” according to the New York Times. In addition, show composers Bono and the Edge of U2 are writing new songs for the show, and there have been rumors that producers are looking for a new director to help reshape the show.

The Times writes, “The hire comes amid growing expectation among “Spider-Man” cast and crew members that the show’s official opening, now set for March 15, will be delayed for a sixth time - perhaps for a significant period of time - to undertake a significant revamping of the $65 million show.”

The story goes on: ““Spider-Man” has been one of the top-grossing shows on Broadway since preview performances began; last week the show grossed $1.48 million, an increase over the previous week’s gross of $1.33 million. But its weekly running costs are also the highest on Broadway, at more than $1 million a week, leaving little room for profit. The show has had some difficulty filling seats on weeknights, moreover; on Saturday, the show began offering a new discount of about 40 percent on rear orchestra and mezzanine seats for performances Tuesday through Friday night between March 1-April 1 — a sign that, in spite of the high grosses, help is needed to sell seats.”

So maybe Sansolo was right after all.
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