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Will a Spider Fly On the Great White Way?

Spider-Man musical

Spider-Man will finally swing onto the Broadway stage this holiday season in the much-anticipated (and much postponed) musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, with previews starting on November 14 at the Foxwoods Theater in New York.

After a series of delays, major stars dropping out to new producers and cash flow problems, the show, which features a score by U2 luminaries Bono and The Edge, begins presale tickets this weekend. The show was originally scheduled to open in March of this year. Tickets go on sale for the general public in September.

The tangled web of a musical will be the most expensive musical to hit Broadway, with a budget estimated at $50 million. Director Julie Taymor, who also directed the Broadway version of that commercial cash cow The Lion King, told The New York Times that Spider-Man needs to achieve similar success to The Lion King, which has grossed $713 million to date.

The producers had to grant refunds to ticket-buyers who had purchased tickets for the original opening dates. One New York ticket broker told The Wall Street Journal that he expected to deliver refunds or exchanges totaling $1 million.

Spider-Man is the first musical to be produced by a comic book company, Marvel Comics. Musicals based on movies and cartoon characters have seen mixed success. This show will mark the first audience reaction to action heroes on stage. Disney continues to see booming box office numbers with The Lion King and Mary Poppins, yet Dreamworks didn’t recoup its initial investment of about $25 million with Shrek: The Musical during its one-year Broadway run.

Actor-singer Reeve Carney, who plays Spidey, is the only remaining member from the original cast. Evan Rachel Wood as Mary Jane Watson and Alan Cummings as the Green Goblin both pulled out. Jennifer Damiano, fresh off her Tony-nominated run in Next to Normal, replaces Wood as Mary Jane. Patrick Page will star as Noman Osborn, the Green Goblin.

In order for Spidey to break even on Broadway, the show will need to sell out every night for more than five years. (A full price presale ticket costs $140.) Regardless, if it fails, comic book fans can see the Times Square Spider-Man any day of the week — for free.