Peter Parker has packed up his tights and left New York City.
“Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” played its last performance Saturday after more than three years at the Foxwoods Theater on 42nd Street.
The final show was glittering, mesmerizing and packed with fans, former cast members, show producers and, some whispered, perhaps even Bono. “He’s over there, two rows behind us!” Craning necks indicated some VIP was in the house. An official sighting was never made.
The musical certainly had a bumpy run on Broadway: with injuries, lawsuits by the original director, revamping and more revamping. But that’s not likely what was on playgoers’ minds on the last night. The performances were solid, the singing tight, the flying more enthusiastic than usual. You got the sense the flying Spideys and the Green Goblin knew they were soaring through the theater for the very last time -- and they were going to have fun with it.
We’ve all seen the glitter of opening nights, the red carpets, the reviews. There is a buzz of anticipation, excitement after all the many months of rehearsals. The magnificent flying stunts are perfected, the ballads are tweaked, the script is fine-tuned. The last bee is attached to “Swarm," the scales are affixed on Green Goblin, and the sunshine yellow China silk is ironed for the “Behold and Wonder” swing number with Arachne and her girls.
Closing night is much more poignant, and bittersweet -- a little like being at the going-away party of someone you don’t know. Members of the audience weren’t being left out, but the real import of the musical’s end was certainly felt much more deeply by the cast and crew.
The orchestra section was packed with insiders. Reeve Carney, the original Peter Parker, was in the house. Patrick Page, who created the role of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, sat in the 13th row with his wife, the actress Paige Davis. Row J was filled with the show’s producers.
During the show, there were two notable acknowledgments of the occasion. In one scene, set inside The Daily Bugle newsroom, editor-in-chief J. Jonah Jameson barked out the banner headline: “Superhero Mega-Musical Defies Doubters, Runs Three Years on Broadway!” The Green Goblin purred while playing his green cartoon piano: “from the top of the Chrysler Building. One night only.”
The curtain call was BOOM! BAM! POW! remarkable. The cast members took their final bows to hoots of delighted appreciation. At the very end, Robert Cuccioli (Green Goblin) called out to the stage the “vast army of dedicated, talented people backstage, behind the scenes.” Carpenters, props, electrics, flight team, lights, sound, stage managers, hair, wardrobe, makeup -- all came out to screams, applause, cries of "Bravo!" The producers of the show and director Philip Wm. McKinley joined the cast and crew, filling the stage, a visual reminder of why the show cost $75 million to create -- and $1 million-plus a week to keep running.
At the end of every play’s performance, the stage manager brings out a bare light on a stand -- it is called the ghost light (presumably there to keep the theater’s ghosts at bay). Saturday night, the ghost light was extinguished, the packing begun, the set about to be struck.
The costume worn by Carney has been donated to the Smithsonian. “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” is heading to Vegas.