By Michael Gioia
05 Jan 2014
As the character of J. Jonah Jameson — editor and publisher of the fictional Daily Bugle, played by Michael Mulheren — perused the headlines in the final performance of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, he read aloud, "Super-Hero Musical Defies Doubters: Runs Three Years on Broadway." The crowd at the Foxwoods Theatre erupted.
The high-flying, multimillion dollar musical, adapted from the classic Marvel comic book series, took its final flight Jan. 4, and — although the musical faced a constant uphill battle (enduring the longest preview period of all time, suffering numerous injuries to the cast and losing millions of dollars by closing time) — the audience was more than receptive on its final night.
"It actually kind of reminded me of the audiences at Rock of Ages," Spider-Man leading man (and former Rocker) Justin Matthew Sargent told Playbill.com following his performance, "wild and rambunctious and yelling! It was absolutely incredible. It was the best audience that I've ever been in front of."
Sargent and the rest of the Spider-Man cast were greeted with entrance applause throughout the performance. Cheers and hoots from the crowd came as Peter Parker found himself "Bouncing Off the Walls" and the high school science nerd made his final transformation into the heroic (and iconic) Spider-Man.
"Of course, emotions were high," Sargent continued, "but this company is just such a close-knit family that we were all there to support each other. Everybody was watching from the wings — which I've never seen before — so that was just so cool."
Rebecca Faulkenberry, another former Rock of Ages cast member and the Mary Jane Watson to Sargent's Peter Parker, was also reeling from her final trip in Spider-Man's arms.
"Tonight was so many different emotions," she said. "I've never closed a show —certainly not a show like this... It's always been a limited run, or I've left a company to move to another show. This was a mix of me finishing a job, a mix of this incredible, creative [production] ending and [the cast] that I work with all ending together. It's very bittersweet."Continued...