Monday, March 3, 2014

"I've made a huge mistake."

Book: Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History
Author: Glen Berger
Published: 2013 (Simon and Schuster)
Pages: 352
So this isn’t on any sort of to-read list I’ve made. It was a pure, Friday-afternoon oo-this-looks-interesting on-the-way-out choice.
Interesting because I vaguely followed the public part of this saga during late 2010/early 2011 as a journalism student with free access to weekday editions of the New York Times, and reminded of this lately when one of the hosts from the podcast I listen to while running talked about going to see it (it was an old episode – on Internet radio, time is all sorts of wibbly-wobbly).
The obvious question being “did it live up to its hype,” with “it” being the backstage saga, the answer is “as much as I could tell, yes.” The parts about story-wrangling is what I thought were most interesting, discussing as they did the humanity of characters and how ancient Greek mythos can be incorporated into modern geek culture in a cohesive way. The rest, about how to bring these conclusions to a reality that won’t cost eleventy-billion dollars and half a dozen lives, eventually became a rather endless list of technical delays, professional backbiting, where is it humanly possible to get all this money panics, and exhausted people having fits of existential crises as they realized it wa all for a play.
But Berger’s got a good sense of his own depreciation, and he was right in the middle of everything, and he was probably the most eloquent member of the team who most thoroughly went from star-struck collaboration with Bono and a famous director to broke and broken member of this breaking crew. You don’t have to care much about Broadway or Spider-Man to enjoy this, but it helps to understand why so many people put so much on the line for all this.
I sort of wish I could’ve seen the unfixed show in one of its record-breaking string of preview performances. It sounded cool in a hot-mess kind of way, but now the “fixed” version is playing, maybe still? I don’t keep up with those things. But this book made me want to check.
It was deposited into the staff entrance book return this morning, so go nuts, Richland Library card holders.  

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