.

5 Shocking Revelations About U2's 'Spider-Man' Musical

In his new memoir, playwright Glen Berger reveals the behind-the-scenes action surrounding the troubled Broadway show

November 19, 2013 1:10 PM ET
Glen Berger
Glen Berger
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

In 2005, playwright Glen Berger was hired by director Julie Taymor to co-write the script for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. What followed were six crazed, tumultuous, accident-ridden years before the show, with music by Bono and the Edge, finally premiered on Broadway.

Watch U2 Play 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' in 1983

In Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History, Berger cuts through the tangled web of the troubled show's history and personalities. "I didn't want to relive it, but at the end of the day, it was a story and I'm a writer," he says. "It's about good and incredibly talented people earnestly trying to create something. I didn't want to write a tell-all, but I couldn't pass it up." The book was released earlier this month on Simon & Schuster and with today's news that the show is packing it up for Vegas, here's five of the best takeaways that the book revealed about the troubled Broadway show.

1. Ex-Director Julie Taymor would make a great lead character for a musical about a diva. She sends despairing emails to Berger ("they want all that groundbreaking or envelope-pushing stuff . . . and then at the 11th hour, they get nervous"), has a meltdown and disappears from the theater during rehearsals, and confesses to Berger one day,  "Maybe the whole idea of doing a Spider-Man musical is just ridiculous." Recalls Berger, "I knew when she said it that that feeling would pass, but for the moment it certainly did give me a feeling of bewilderment."

2. Bono and the Edge Channeled Tom Waits and the Pixies.
Berger writes that "Deeply Furious" had sampled strings and a "Pixies-inspired punk-surf guitar." "A Freak Like Me Needs Company" had Bono singing in "a Tom Waits growl," and the original "Love Me or Kill Me" took its cue from Gary Numan's "Cars." "You hear the mysterious tone we were never able to duplicate again," says Berger. "The original demos were incredibly original and tuneful. Bono and the Edge were inspired by not having the burden of a U2 album."

3. Seconds Mattered in the High-Stakes World of Staging Spider-Man.
When a stage hand took a few seconds longer than usual to find his flashlight, he missed attaching a safety cable – sending one of the flying Spideys crashing to the floor and giving him a fractured skull, punctured lung and broken ribs. "Things can change on a dime, including things you take for granted," says Berger. "And of course something like that could happen."

4. Musicians were interested in a Spider-Man musical.
Lou Reed and Oprah Winfrey attended early performances, and during one recording session, on St. Patrick's Day, Elvis Costello wandered in "wearing a pair of little red glittery devil horns." As Berger recalls, "At a certain point, you stopped being surprised. You'd look behind you and say, 'Oh, that's Russell Brand.' It seemed like everybody came."

5. Bono does a killer impersonation of Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.
During one meeting, Bono turns to Berger and says, "How long have you been with us, Smithers?" "Bono and the Edge were child-like in the best sense of the word," says Berger. "They had an enthusiasm for creating stuff, despite the unimaginable stress."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Movies Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

 
www.expandtheroom.com