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Rocky Start for U2's 'Spider-Man' Show

First preview marred by mishaps

November 29, 2010 10:05 AM ET

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark finally had its first Broadway preview on Sunday night, in a performance that was stopped by delays five times — and at least one widely reported catcall from an audience member. One of the delays, which left lead actor Reeve Carney dangling above the audience for several minutes, caused the show's first act to end early.

The show, which has cost an estimated $65 million — the most expensive in Broadway history — has experienced financial and technical problems from the start. An aerial-stunt mishap earlier this month injured one of the actors and caused a two-week postponement of the opening performance. The delay caused U2's Bono and the Edge, who wrote the show's score and were heavily involved in its production, to miss Sunday night's performance due to U2's tour dates in Australia.

Video: Bono and the Edge Introduce Spider-Man Song

The show, which ran for more than three hours, began 24 minutes late. The end of the show's first act saw the evening's most awkward delay. Carney was supposed to soar over the audience toward a balcony across the theater, but stopped after traveling just a few yards — and stayed there, suspended above the front rows. Crew members managed to catch him by the foot, and the stage manager called intermission. The intermission lasted for more than half an hour, causing the audience to clap in unison.

The second act suffered just one delay, but it led an audience member to call out, "I feel like a guinea pig today — I feel like it's a dress rehearsal." Her comment was met with boos.

Nonetheless, The New York Times wrote that most of the show's stunts "went off without a hitch, with children and some adults squealing in delight." The New York Post was less charitable in its report, calling the show an "epic flop as the $65 million show's high-tech gadgetry went completely awry amid a dull score and baffling script."

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark's official opening is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2011.

'Spider-Man Takes Off, With Some Bumps [New York Times]

First 'Spider-Man' Preview Filled With Problems [NY Post]

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