‘Spiderman’ provides comic relief

Summer is here and while school is on hiatus, not all books are closed to reading. Adults and children alike are clamoring to check out the latest editions of comic books. Whether in audio/visual, film, print or live theater currently, comic book tales are the biggest attractions.

With new film releases of “Thor,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “The Green Hornet,” when school reopens in September and through to next year new versions and releases are due from “Captain America,” “Batman,” “Spiderman” and “Superman.”

Also claiming a portion of the profits from comic attractions, Broadway scores with a live theatrical presentation that emulates a sketched hero children glorify and adults revere with nostalgia. “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark” brings the web-weaving crime fighter to life and poses a challenge to some of the best musicals and dramas now playing along the Great White Way. Its high-tech acrobatics, funny storyline and fabled, action hero and villain accounts for much of the allure, however, the controversy surrounding false openings seems to have created curious patronage and another aspect to the daily SRO showcases.

Not only are tourists lining up outside the Foxwoods Theater to purchase tickets but school buses are maneuvering through Times Square’s rush hour traffic to unload eagle-eyed children who seem to have had advance seats to first week presentations.

During the first week of opening, yellow, school buses pulled up with frequency in order to transport students to mid-week, evening presentations. Matinees are usually the most-sought after performances for school-aged patrons but fans of the Peter Parker/Spiderman character have been showing up with chaperones and teachers at all dates to watch the hero fight his nemesis in a mid-air feud.

The much-anticipated bout climaxes a thoroughly, well-choreographed spectacle that seems to captivate adults and children alike. Starring Reeve Carney as the lead character, Jennifer Damiano portrays Mary Jane Watson, the love interest who must steal alone-time with the newspaper photographer who after a stinging encounter with a bug finds him swinging to rescue crime victims throughout Gotham. And while the couple gets much of the staging, the spider that empowers the wimpy, native New Yorker is no less a feature. Arachnid Arache (T.V. Carpio) delivers the first biting performance. Soaring from her web, Arachne’s poison leaves audiences entranced by the graceful exits and entrances she makes throughout.

Audiences get an upside view of the city, as if seated in the sky, they are able to watch Spiderman swing through the air, dodging skyscrapers and landing in the middle of rush-hour, mid-town traffic. Aerial choreography executed by Daniel Ezralow is nothing short of superb.

As characters ‘fly’ through the air, audiences look in awe at the ease that transports a fictitious character who until recently has only been exalted by his graphic image on paper or digitally enhanced onscreen.

With six sinister characters to fend off on stage, his fiercest rival, The Green Goblin (Colin Baja) proves the most charismatic and unfortunately the most hilarious.

The dastardly deeds compel displeasing reactions to a lizard that charms, swarms but wins if not the duel, favor at intervals.

The sets represent images resembling graphics displayed on pages of collectible books. With all the aerial dynamics wonderfully projected, musical conductor Kimberly Grigsby adds amplification, punctuation and lyrical emphasis to music written by Bono and The Edge.

Unfortunately, there are few memorable songs to enamor but Grigsby puts energy in each and every direction to at least merit kudos.

Undoubtedly had “Spiderman: Turn Off The dark” opened on schedule, The Tony awards might have been a flying sweep for the awe-inspiring, flying, comic book, live, action musical production. The Broadway production missed the deadline for Tony entry due to false starts reportedly from technical malfunctions. Allegedly, fully ready for every performance, surprises abound when Spidey spins his web to distinguish this musical from all the rest on Broadway.

Adults and children alike will enjoy this musical now and until the school bell rings to start a new semester.

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