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Song of Spider-Man

Song of Spider-Man

The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History

As one can imagine, writing a Broadway musical has its challenges. But it turns out there are challenges one can’t imagine when collaborating with two rock legends and a superstar director to stage the biggest, most expensive production in theater history.

Song of Spider-Man is playwright Glen Berger’s story of a theatrical dream—or nightmare—come true. Renowned director Julie Taymor picked Berger to cowrite the book for a $25 million Spider-Man musical. Together—along with U2’s Bono and Edge— they would shape a work that was technically daring and emotionally profound, with a story fueled by the hero’s quest for love—and the villains’ quest for revenge. Or at least, that’s what they’d hoped for.

But when charismatic producer Tony Adams died suddenly, the show began to lose its footing. Soon the budget was ballooning, financing was evaporating, and producers were jumping ship or getting demoted. And then came the injuries. And then came word-of- mouth about the show itself. What followed was a pageant of foul-ups, falling-outs, ever-more-harrowing mishaps, and a whole lot of malfunctioning spider legs. This “circus-rock-and-roll-drama,” with its $65 million price tag, had become more of a spectacle than its creators ever wished for. During the show’s unprecedented seven months of previews, the company’s struggles to reach opening night inspired breathless tabloid coverage and garnered international notoriety.

Through it all, Berger observed the chaos with his signature mix of big ambition and self-deprecating humor. Song of Spider-Man records the journey of this cast and crew as a hilarious memoir about friendship, collaboration, the foibles of hubris, and the power of art to remind us that we’re alive.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451684568 | 
  • November 2013
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Video

Glen Berger Tells The Back Story of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Glen Berger, author of Song of Spider-Man and co-writer of the most controversial musical on Broadway, reveals how it all came together (and fell apart).

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Articles About This Book

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Posted by Kevin Myers

Sure, I work in publishing, but my first love is theatre. I'm a BIG theatre nerd. I’ll see anything, from mainstream Broadway to edgy emerging artists. Heck, I’ve even produced a few shows myself and boy oh boy, have I got some good stories. But...

More Books from this Author

As one can imagine, writing a Broadway musical has its challenges. But it turns out there are challenges one can’t imagine when collaborating with two rock legends and a superstar director to stage the biggest, most expensive production in theater history. Song of Spider-Man is playwright Glen Berger’s story of a theatrical dream—or nightmare—come true. Renowned director Julie Taymor picked Berger to cowrite the book for a $25 million Spider-Man musical....
Read more about this book

About the Author

Glen Berger
© Don Hamerman

Glen Berger

Glen Berger cut his teeth at Seattle’s Annex Theatre back in the ’90s. His plays since then include Underneath the Lintel, which has been staged more than two hundred times worldwide, been translated into eight languages, and won several Best Play awards; and O Lovely Glowworm, a 2005 Portland Drammy Award Winner for Best Script. He is a New Dramatists alumnus. In television, Glen has won two Emmys (out of twelve nominations), and has written more than 150 episodes for children’s television series including Arthur (PBS), Peep (Discovery/The Learning Channel), Big and Small (BBC), and Fetch (PBS), for which he was the head writer for all five years of its run. Glen spent six years cowriting the script of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

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