The epic comic book story of Spider Man had proven to be difficult to stage from the onset, where the troubles with special effects alone were sending test audience members screaming towards the exits.
What was easy to build with computer imagery proves to be a completely different matter when translating action scenes to the real world of the stage. Stage effect designer, Dickson Dykes says, "Having Spidey shoot an actual web out towards the audience, or showing him battle the Sandman, winds up covering our audience's formal clothing with the equivalent of sticky dirt and silly string".
"But, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet", says show producer, Ismay Assondalyne. "Come to think of it, we wound up cutting that kitchen/omelet scene. We're still cleaning the seats in the theater". But the special effect troubles are only part of the problem. The staging calls for Spiderman to fly from stage corner to balcony and back again, then make sudden appearances all over the theater. This actually calls for three Spiderman characters doing stunts at various points in the show.
"We just can't keep them healthy", says Dykes. "A broken arm here, a collapsed lung there. We're going through actors like water". Assondalyne admits that when all the effects work, it is quite a show. "It's magical to see the flow of the action scenes, when they do work", says Assondalyne, "but we only had that happen once in 73 attempts. Now we're keeping medical teams in the back, and dry cleaning vouchers at the exits. Broadway. There's almost no place I'd rather be", said Assondalyne. "Except maybe Omaha in February".