“Dreaming up the show, the scale of it, the flying sequence, the pop-art opera that it is — that was all pure joy,” Bono tells Billboard of the long-delayed Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical, which will finally open to the public on Sunday. “What we didn’t realize was how difficult it is to stage this stuff, both technically and financially.”
That’s an understatement, considering the troubles that the years-in-the-making musical, which features music by Bono and U2 bandmate the Edge, has undergone. Delays, staffing issues, cashflow problems, the size of the cast and production, the complexity of the stuntwork and other problems have brought the cost of the show to a reported $60 million — the most expensive musical in Broadway history.
“It has never been achieved before — the kind of scale of what we’re looking for,” Bono says of the Julie Taymor-directed musical. “There may be very good reasons [for the delays]. We’re going to find out. The expense of it? A lot of it was the delays.”
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But it’s finally ready, Sunday’s preview is sold out, and Bono is optimistic about what will happen next.
“I think even though it looks like there’s a lot of ill will against us, I think it’ll turn around,” Bono says. “If it’s just spectacle, we will have failed. But if you can be moved, and if you believe these characters, and … you really buy into the myth, it’s a great American story.”