“Turn Off the Dark” will set a rialto record for the most preview performances now that news comes that it won’t open till March 15. That is five weeks later than the most recently posted opening night — Feb. 7 — and will mean that the new musical will have spent almost four months being fine-tuned.
The production has been plagued with problems from the outset. Bono and the Edge of U2 penned the tunes almost a decade ago but it has taken this long to go from page to stage. The original producer died on the day the contracts were signed. The money dried up during the pre-production phase and delays meant that Golden Globe nominee Evan Rachel Wood (“Thirteen”) and Tony champ Alan Cumming (“Cabaret”) had to bow out of playing the love interest and villain.
Tony-winning director Julie Taymor‘s vision for the show has become blurred by technical constraints. During the first preview on Nov. 28, leading man Reeve Carney was left hanging from the rafters as the flying harnesses jammed. And Natalie Mendoza, who plays the newly-created villainess Arachne suffered a concussion and has left the show. On Dec. 20, aerialist Christopher Tierney plummeted into the orchestra pit breaking ribs and vertebrae.
At $65 million, “Turn Off the Dark” is the most expensive musical in the history of the rialto. It has a cast of 41 with 18 in the orchestra. The sets are some of the most complicated ever built and there are more than two dozen flying sequences to stage.
Image: “Turn Off the Dark” poster (Foxwoods Theater)