In an ending that The New York Times could only describe as “fitting,” the $75 million musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark closed its tumultuous Broadway run on Saturday with a technical glitch — one that required a crew member to run on stage during the performance to deal with a door that didn’t shut properly.
But in the grand scheme of the show’s three-year run — 1,268 performances in all — marked by cast injuries, a ballooning budget, early scathing reviews and the unceremonious firing of director and co-creator Julie Taymor, the snafu was minor. Still, “fitting” is the perfect word for it.
Producers announced in November (nearly three years after previews began) they would close the show Jan. 4, with plans to reopen in 2015 in Las Vegas, where they hope the most expensive production in Broadway history will be able to turn a profit.
Although the musical had proved popular following a 2011 overhaul that stripped away many of Taymor’s signature elements, it was simply too expensive: Until recently it had regularly grossed $1 million or more a week in ticket sales, which didn’t cover its $1.2 million production costs. But in late August, ticket receipts fell as low as $621,960 and never bounced back; in the end Turn Off the Dark racked up losses estimated as high as $60 million. The musical would’ve needed to run for at least seven years on Broadway to become profitable.
According to The Times, audience members on Saturday threw red and white roses onto the stage of the Foxwood Theater, where original stars Reeve Carney and Patrick Page brought out bouquets for the current cast. A couple of actors carried banners that read, “Always Bet on Red (and Blue)!” and “Vegas, Baby!,” references to the planned Las Vegas move.