There’s not much to say about this show that hasn’t been said. Over the course of an embarrassingly public New York preview period, with seemingly the entire world watching, the show gradually progressed from being laughably incoherent to simply being boring. The only impressive thing about the show is the sets, and even they have had their embarrassing moments, not least the well-known scandal in which they almost killed some of the actors.
The score, by the principle songwriters of legendary rock band U2, has a few nice songs, such as “Boy Falls From the Sky”, “Rise Above” and “No More”, but none of these have anything to do with the story, and all the songs that do relate to the story are terrible, particularly “A Freak Like Me Needs Company”, which is one of Broadway’s most monumental floppo numbers in both its composition and staging.
But ultimately, the show is less interesting in itself than it is simply as a phenomenon. Here is a legendary disaster, ridiculed by everyone, that has attracted crowds of gawkers big enough to stay open past the two-year mark. Its clearest predecessor is Carrie, but that show played three previews before shuttering; this one just keeps going. I guess it’s not that surprising: we live in a hipsterish, ironic age, an age where terrible amateur music videos on youtube become hit songs even though no one actually likes them. It seems to set a dangerous precedent if legendarily awful shows can now become hits on ironic attendance alone, but I suppose that’s the world we live in.
But I doubt there’s too much danger. Broadway-going audiences aren’t as infected by these trends, and if this show were not based on a famed comic book superhero who had just been the subject of a massive hit movie series, I doubt the mainstream public would have even been aware of it.