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'Spider-Man' starts to emerge
'Spider-Man' starts to emerge from web of secrecy
 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , 24-November-2010  5:42:58 AM
Nine years in the making, the moment came on Saturday to try running through the first act of the new musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" without stopping. As the band struck up an ominous tune that wailed like an ambulance siren, the enormous stage curtain rose to reveal a young woman dangling under a mock-up of the Brooklyn Bridge. Above her appeared a masked man, clad in skin-hugging tights, red and blue and all-American.

We know him, but we may not know him, at least according to the musical's creators. In their eyes, Peter Parker (and his alter ego, Spider-Man) is a character on a spiritual quest to reconcile human frailty with the possibility of greatness. It's an idea that so enraptured the director, Julie Taymor, and the composers, Bono and the Edge, of U2, that they have built a $65 million (and counting) show around him, replete with perspective-skewing scenery and flying sequences that are unprecedented for Broadway.

"Peter Parker is the one," in Ms. Taymor's words, "who shows us how to soar above our petty selves."

If he can soar, that is. Four minutes into the Act I rehearsal, a "Spider-Man" crew member announced on his mic, "We're gonna hold." It was the first of several pauses to deal with technical glitches, mostly in transitions between scenes. By the dinner break, only 15 minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour show had unfolded. And the first scheduled performance (this Sunday at 6:30 p.m.) was just eight days away.

In the last week, the nervous creators of the show, the most expensive in Broadway history, have begun to see the hand-drawn sketches, the digitally animated videos, the comic-book-inspired costumes come to life -- to see "Spider-Man" "Creating art that has never been done before is the reason I get out of bed in the morning," said Bono, leaning forward in Row A on the aisle, as Reeve Carney, playing Spidey, rehearsed onstage. "This feels like it."

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