“We’ve got big tunes. We’re very proud of it,” U2’s Bono says of the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical he co-wrote with the Edge. Despite reports that the cash-strapped Broadway show has shut down production, the duo spoke to the BBC about the Julie Taymor-directed musical dedicated to the legendary Marvel superhero, which currently is still planned to debut in February 2010. “Our Peter Parker is much more… not Kurt Cobain, but a kind of slacker, a more kind of shy sort of guy,” Bono told the BBC about how his and the Edge’s vision of the superhero will differ from the comic and recent films.
In a move that might unnerve Spider-Man diehards, Bono also revealed that he and the Edge created a new villainess for the musical. “We’ve got a new villain, it’s a girl. It’s a very extraordinary role. We’ve taken it to a much more dizzy place than you’d expect,” the U2 frontman revealed. Bono also spoke glowingly about actress Evan Rachel Wood, who will play love interest Mary Jane Watson and with whom Bono co-starred with during his cameo in Taymor’s Across the Universe. “She’s the greatest actor of her generation, she’s the one to watch,” said Bono. “She happens to sing like a bird, it’s like a true voice. She’s a very pure spirit and a very bright mind and she brings the part of MJ to life really.”
The Edge, meanwhile, said the singing in Turn Off the Dark is closer to an opera than the traditional Broadway musical. “It touches on opera, it touches on rock & roll. There are some real character-driven songs as well, very unusual song types for us,” the Edge told the BBC. “It is much more like opera than a straight musical. We’re actually not calling it a musical for that reason because we don’t want to put people off.” The Edge also said that all of Spider-Man’s singing will be left to Peter Parker, as a guy in a full latex suit belting out show tunes would be pretty ridiculous.
As Rock Daily previously reported, many of the production crew has been let go from the contracts as the musical struggles with a cash-flow problem and escalating costs. Some reports have stated that in order for Turn Off the Dark to break even from a financial standpoint, it will have to sell out the theater for five consecutive years. Despite the financial woes, tickets for the February 2010 preview performances are now on sale at the Spider-Man on Broadway site to American Express cardholders, with February 25th still being touted as the musical’s debut. (Tix are still available so swing over there.)
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• U2’s “Spider-Man” Musical to Star Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming