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Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.jpg

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is a Broadway musical based on the Marvel Comics superhero. Directed by Julie Taymor (director of the Broadway version of The Lion King) with the score and lyrics by Bono and the Edge of U2. As of this writing, it is the single most expensive Broadway musical ever produced, costing about sixty-five million dollars.

The musical is best known for its very, very Troubled Production. Several actors were injured during rehearsals and previews, falling while performing the show's elaborate aerial stunts. The script underwent several edits, and Julie Taymor was fired during the show's preview period. There were a whopping one hundred and eighty-two performances before the show debuted, the longest preview period in history.

Storywise, the final product is largely based on the first two Sam Raimi films, with the myth of Arachne and the Maximum Carnage story arc added into the mix.

Tropes used in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark include:
  • Abusive Parents: Mary Jane's father, as implied in her part of "No More." This was more explicit in the first version, where he actually hit her with a beer bottle in the middle of the song.
  • All Just a Dream: Act Two in the original script was all an illusion created by an angry Arachne up until its climax.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Norman may have been married, but the Green Goblin "said goodbye to [his] straight life ..."
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Peter even has a song about it.
  • Angry Mob Song: "Bullying By Numbers" is a slightly less vitriolic version of one, about how much fun beating up Peter is.
  • The Artifact: Several bits, most notably everything involving Arachne, have no impact on the story and clearly only exist because Julie Taymor had already paid for the costumes and props.
  • Ax Crazy: The Goblin, natch.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Peter, in Version 1.0.
  • Canon Foreigner: Swiss Miss.
  • Composite Character: This Green Goblin is a cross between the Goblin and Dr. Octopus from the Sam Raimi films.
  • Creator Cameo: A few U2 snippets appear in the soundtrack. And "Bouncing Off the Walls" is essentially The Jimmy Hart Version of "Vertigo."
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Spidey has one with each of the Sinister Six that lasts just a few seconds. In the first version, he even did it without any of his powers.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Peter blows off fighting crime for a night at home with Mary Jane. A night which he later said was spent with no TV or radio...
  • Driven to Suicide: Arachne, as per her myth. Arguably Peter in Version 1.0, where he jumps off a bridge after Mary Jane knowing he's powerless.
  • Disney Villain Death: How the Goblin dies. During the final confrontation, Spidey webs him to a piano he'd been using for a musical number, and when the Goblin unintentionally pulls it off the Chrysler Building, he's dragged down with it.
  • Dramatic Irony: Mary Jane gets on Broadway, playing the girlfriend of The Fly.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Goblin doesn't do nuanced subtlety.
    • Matt Caplan, the actor playing Flash Thompson, sometimes puts Bulk and Skull to shame.
  • Evil Is One Big Happy Family: The Goblin refers to the Sinister Six as his family, and is understandably upset when Spider Man defeats them.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Osborn already believed that humanity needed to "mutate or die", and wanted to advance human evolution for its own good; after his transformation into the Goblin, he decides to force his mutations onto the world, and kill all who opposed him.
  • Famous Last Words: "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" from Uncle Ben.
  • Fanfic: The original premise in version one was that the show was an in-universe fanfiction as written by the Geek Chorus.
  • Fashion Show: The Sinister Six have one. No, really.
  • Girl Next Door: Mary Jane.
  • Greek Chorus: The first version had a team of four Spider-Man fans narrating the story, known as the "Geek Chorus." They were eventually scrapped.
  • I Have Your Wife: Mary Jane, as usual. Happened twice in Version 1.0.
  • Lego Genetics: This seems to be the cornerstone of Osborn's research, and is the basis for the Crowd Song "DIY World".
    • Particularly weird when it comes to Swiss Miss. Do knives have DNA in this world?
  • Love Triangle: Arachne-Peter-Mary Jane, in Version 1.0 only.
  • Mad Scientist: Osborn. His own wife even refers to him as such.
  • Medium Awareness: The Green Goblin mocks one of Peter's songs in Version 1.0.
    • He also directs a few comments at the audience in the current version.
  • Morality Chain: After the death of his wife, Norman grows progressively more insane and violent. (The severe mutations could also be a factor, though.)
  • Never My Fault: The Green Goblin. "Emily ... died... because of you [Spider-Man]!"
  • One-Winged Angel: The Goblin sprouts a pair of wings for the final confrontation atop the Chrysler Building.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Viper corporation, which offers to fund Osborn's research so he'll create Super Soldiers for them.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Sinister Six.
  • Recycled Script: The first version had quite a bit of dialogue from the first movie in it. The second got rid of most of it, but scenes like Spider-Man saving a baby from a fire still seem directly lifted.
  • Screen to Stage Adaptation
  • Self-Deprecation: "I'm a sixty-five million dollar circus tragedy..."
  • Self-Disposing Villain: The Goblin ends up killing himself accidentally.
  • Shout-Out: Peter asks Mary Jane if The Fantasticks is a musical version of the Fantastic Four.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Goblin, Swiss Miss.
  • Spirit Advisor: Arachne.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song / To the Tune Of: "Bouncing Off the Walls" sounds strikingly similar to U2's "Vertigo," at least according to Todd in the Shadows.
  • Take That: J. Jonah Jameson on the Bugle: "This isn't The New York Times, it's not the Daily News, and it certainly isn't the Post." All three were papers that were skeptical of the show during previews.
  • Villain Song: "A Freak Like Me Needs Company" and "I'll Take Manhattan", both by the Goblin.
    • "Bullying By Numbers" and "Venom", for Flash and the other bullies.
    • "Think Again" and "Deeply Furious" in Version 1.0, by Arachne.
    • "Pull The Trigger" for Viper, the criminal organization trying to convince Osborne to use his genetic research for evil.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Goblin offers Spider-Man a place by his side. Spidey, naturally, refuses.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: From "No More": "I count the grass as it grows/I go to sleep in my clothes/But the shoes don't fit"...
  • Word Salad Title
  • Yandere: Arachne in Version 1.0.
  • You Are Not Alone: Sung nearly word for word by Mary Jane and Arachne in the reprise of "Rise Above".