First Look at Broadway's U2-Powered Spider-Man

U2-powered superhero musical gets an advanced look

By Josh Grossberg Sep 10, 2010 7:35 PMTags

It hasn't even opened yet, but Broadway's Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark's already got our Spidey senses you-know-what.

Bono, the Edge and acclaimed director Julie Taymor offered an energetic preview of their highly anticipated rock-musical adaptation of Marvel's iconic superhero on Good Morning America Friday morning.

In a word: wow!

Appearing live via satellite from Nice, France, during a break from the band's 360° tour, the U2's brain trust talked about the history of the project.

"Post 9/11, this idea of everyone being capable of being a hero kind of caught our imaginations and we didn't want to go about it in an earnest way. But it's a mythological character, a New Yorker called Peter Parker," said Bono.

The show features an eye-popping array of sets mimicking the New York City skyline, including the Brooklyn Bridge, and a bunch of supervillains, led by the Green Goblin and a brand-new baddie named Swiss Miss—because she's made of Swiss Army knives and "cuts New York to pieces" as Taymor put it.

"It's a combination of what is visceral, real tactile theater mixed with high technology with flying that's never been done before over the audience," Taymor, who won who a Tony for her puppetry-heavy Broadway take on Disney's The Lion King, told E! News after the GMA taping. "They fly, they have battles over the audience, they land on balconies. If you're sitting on the balcony, you get a good show; you get as good a show as down on the floor. We're in their face.

"We're trying to do all these things in one show, but all to the service of the's all grounded in emotion and in a really strong drama with great actors who can sing and dance."

She also had high praise for her partner in crime-fighting, Bono.

"He's a superhero in the sense that he's a super rock star, he does the Red campaign, he does many things for AIDS in Africa, his awarenes of his responsibility as a rock star because he has the mind and power to use it is immense," she noted. "At the same time, he's a loving dad...and a great wife since high school, so he has to balance these worlds and that's Peter Parker's struggle."

"So when Bono and Edge wrote these songs, they were very personal," continued Taymor. "The lyrics are so moving and deep because they actually have personal meaning to them. We all connect."

She also revealed that she's also got a big surprise for fanboys.

"I brought in something that's there that you won't know about until previews but it's a whole new aspect of the story that's not in the original comic books," she said. "It goes back to a certain kind of mythology that really connects to me. And I think we can be on this project for a long time because we're so obsessed with the content and the message and within all of that...we can do a pretty interesting and entertaining show that will really be fun and spectacular."

Taymor's latest film, The Tempest, premieres at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday and stars Reeve Carney, whom she cast as the Peter Parker and his webslinging alter ego in Spider-Man: Turn on the Dark. Originally, Evan Rachel Woods and Tony winner Alan Cumming were slated to play Mary Jane Watson and Norman Osborn, respectively, but they had to drop out due to production delays and were replaced by Jennifer Damiano and Patrick Page.

"There's no point in doing Spider-Man if you don't do it big," Taymor said of the technical challenges of mounting such a massive production. "I've always had support of producers who wanted to do this big show...we've seen great movies of Spider-Man. Now we have to do it in three we move from live theater into film with live theater in a way that hasn't quite been done before."

Taymor admitted that finding her Parker wasn't easy because they needed guy with a rock background, who's not a Broadway performer and could pull off not only acting but the stunts as well. But it's all there in Carney, who on GMA sang "Boy Falls From the Sky," the first song to be debuted from the show.

"I've probably had five four-hourlong costume fittings or something along those lines but we're well on our way to getting the costumes right," said Carney.

Tickets go on sale for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark at the Foxwoods Theatre beginnining Sunday at 9 a.m. ET via Ticketmaster. The musical kicks off previews on Nov. 14 in time for the holiday season, and opening night is officially scheduled for Dec. 21.