"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" marked its official premiere this week, ending a record-breaking run of preview performances marred by casting changes, injuries, and harsh criticism. However, after undergoing a massive overhaul — including a change in director and a complete reworking of the script — the budget-busting show has finally managed to secure some praise from attendees and critics alike, and evolved from punchline to legitimate Broadway production.
MTV News attended this week's premiere of the "Spider-Man" musical, and spoke to writers Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about the significant changes they made to the production since its original, troubled debut.
"I think we tried to make the story a little bit more linear, but we also tried to bring the characters that the fans know and love — like Mary Jane, Aunt May, Uncle Ben, [and] the Green Goblin — we tried to give them more material and go a little bit deeper on their journeys," explained Aguirre-Sacasa.
However, while the current script has almost no resemblance to the musical's original incarnation, many of the songs and impressive set pieces remain — something Berger alluded to when asked about the massive overhaul.
"The revamp wouldn't have happened if we didn't all think that it was in there somewhere already," he said. "It wasn't wholesale reinvention — it was teasing out what was already there."
Asked how his history in the comic book world played into the changes, Aguirre-Sacasa downplayed his experience as a former writer of Spider-Man comics, and indicated that there's more awareness of comics in the show's creative team than one might expect.
"Everyone who's working on "Spider-Man" is a Spider-Man expert completely," he said. "If you go into [Green Goblin actor] Patrick Page's dressing room, he has a stack of comic books this high. He has sketches that he's done, and Glen is a huge fanboy as well, so everyone knows it, but [my comics experience] did help because at least I could talk the same language everyone else did."
"We put in a few inside jokes for the Marvel fans, some references that true die-hards will get, but if you blink you miss them," he laughed.