I saw Spider-Man on Broadway just before the holidays. Funny thing was, I saw him in the theater right next to where the musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” is playing. This got me to thinking how the producers of the now famous, near-greatest-Broadway-disaster ever could have created a much better show for a lot less money.
We actually were in the New Victory Theater, literally next door to the Foxwoods Theatre on 42nd St. where “Spider-Man” runs, to see the Cirque Shanghai perform “Bai Xi.” The title means “one hundred amazing acts.” And they certainly were. Men and women hurtling and soaring through the air, often without benefit of safety harnesses. A woman stacked chairs three stories high and then stood atop the vertical tower. And then disassembled her way down again. Two men ran around the spinning double Wheel of Death, seemingly sticking to the metal of this out-of-control carnival ride like a spider-man would.
My gasps, my ten-year-old son’s gasps, at the “Bai Xi” stunts were far louder, far more numerous and far more enthusiastic than when we saw “Turn Off the Dark” a year ago as it lurched toward its eventual opening night.
That’s when I had my brilliant idea. The producers of “Turn Off the Dark” should have just shipped a few issues of “The Amazing Spider-Man” from the early days to these practitioners of the 2,000-year-old art of Chinese acrobatics. They’d have come up with twice the show, saving who knows how much money. And it would have opened on time.
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