Spider-Man Musical Casts Web For Rock-And-Roll Stars

MTV News stops by one of nationwide 'Turn off the Dark' casting calls.

NEW YORK — Despite cold weather and long lines, hundreds of aspiring actors swept into Manhattan’s famed Knitting Factory for the open casting call for the upcoming musical “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.”

“Today we’re looking for — it may sound cliché — but someone who’s going to really pop,” casting director Bernie Telsey told MTV News. “And what I mean by that is they’re going to have the sort of voice that’s just going to be so original and make you want to keep listening to.”

The event was one of six held nationally by producers in hopes of filling the roles of hero Peter Parker, girlfriend Mary-Jane Watson and an unnamed female villain. Helmed by “Across the Universe” director Julie Taymor, the musical features lyrics and songs by U2’s Bono and The Edge and will open on Broadway in 2010.

Telsey, who has cast such award-winning fare as “In the Heights,” “Equus” and “Wicked,” said that only a select few of the 300 hopefuls at this call will have the skills he’s seeking. At one point, he was considering Adam Lambert to play Peter , but then “American Idol” grabbed the theatrical singer first. For this production, Telsey said he wants a greater rock-and-roll bent than usual, and that’s precisely what attracted many of the day’s participants.

“I really like Spider-Man, and they said it was going to be a lot of belty-rock kind of stuff,” one member of the crowd exclaimed before giving us a taste of his singing chops.

“Specifically, it’s gotta be a rock and a pop sound that very much matches the Bono and Edge kind of music,” Telsey explained. “[That’s] different than most musical-theater projects we worked on. So that’s what we’re looking for: someone who’s just has that sort of soaring voice.”

Whoever winds up wearing the iconic red-and-blue tights will be embodying more than a simple character, they’ll be representing a symbol for hope and justice. “He’s the hero that everybody wants to be,” said Josh, an aspiring actor. “There’s a little bit of that in everybody. It’s a very appealing role to kind of envision yourself as.”

Having already visited four cities, the casting tour will next head to Chicago on May 7 and Austin, Texas, on May 27.

“Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” will hit the stage February 18, 2010.

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