21 November 2007

Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da (Web) Gunk?

Can this be for real? Spider-Man: The Musical--yes, a real live stage musical--is apparently well into preproduction with no less a talent than Julie Taymor calling the shots! With music by Bono and The Edge (need I mention they're from a little band called U2?)! How the hell did this happen? I blame Legally Blonde-The Musical--then again, I blame it for most things that are wrong in this world...

The ever-reliable Cinematical's got the story here.

Taymor, of course, earned her rep as something of a stage visionary (The Lion King is perhaps her best known achievement) before turning to film with Frida and her wild adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. She's so into it she'd like to cast the two leads from her current Beatles movie musical Across The Universe: ersatz McCartney Jim Sturges as Peter Parker (he'll have to work on the New Yawk accent) and Evan Rachel Wood as Mary Jane (but to me, she looks more like Gwen Stacey).

According to an interview in The Daily Mail, Taymor promises her take will be more "faithful" to the comics, and plans to include "trapeze artists, giant puppets, and incredible costumes into the show." Perhaps Wood's boyfriend Marilyn Manson can be convinced to play Morbius, The Living Vampire?

No word on what Stan Lee thinks of all this, but come curtain time on its premiere night, you can be he'll be on the red carpet taking credit for it all. And I'm sure that Steve Ditko's private box will be waiting, but my guess is that it'll remain vacant while he remains immersed in some new edition of The Fountainhead.

Tread softly, talented people--this won't be the first time a superhero icon has taken flight on the American stage: justly forgotten is 1966's Broadway flop It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman, which told the story of a certain blue and red clad Kryptonian through song, verse, and and a little soft-shoe (interesting that the book was written by Robert Benton and David Newmon, who would later cowrite the excellent "Superman: The Movie").

BTW, betcha didn't that "Batman" nearly made it to the musical stage during the height of the character's 90s movie/TV popularity, with Jim Steinman having completed and recording some songs before the plug was pulled (you can check out "The Joker's Song" here).

Here's a little clip from the Supes musical, etc. to serve as a warning of what could happen if it all goes down in a flaming wreck when Spider-Man: The Musical debuts either in London's West End or on Broadway next year.

Julie, don't "let it be"...
©2007 Robert J. Lewis