‘Spider-Man’ gets unwelcome preview reviews

Two top theater critics — Jeremy Gerard (Bloomberg News) and Linda Winer (Newsday) — broke with Broadway tradition and offered up informal reviews of the still-previewing “Turn Off the Dark” over the weekend. Both cited the decision by producers to open the show cold in New York without out-of-town tryouts but still charge theatergoers full prices for these preview performances which could reach a record number before the official debut Feb. 7.

The show’s press rep Rick Miramontez responded to this breach of theater protocol with these words: “For a major critic to review a Broadway musical, or play for that matter, after only the twentieth preview, is disappointing and uncalled for. Whatever reason the critic or their editor may have, it does not mask the fact that for decades, musicals have developed in front of paying audiences before critics are invited. While we are certainly not naive about the media scrutiny attached to this production, as we have been accommodating throughout, this unprecedented new development is troubling, to say the least.”

Winer focused on the response of the audience rather than her own thoughts while Gerard provided more of a review including comments on the score, book, and production design elements. However, he held back on assessing the performances, saying he will wait till the press is invited to the show in early February to weigh in on those.

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