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'Spider-Man' second preview goes smoothly

The second preview of the much-ballyhooed musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" Wednesday night went off with nary a hitch in what must have been a relief to the producers of the most expensive work ever mounted on Broadway.

The first act had only a single 3-minute delay when a stunt Spider-Man could not negotiate a platform landing. Otherwise, even the most complicated aerial routines worked apparently perfectly - including a particularly involved tandem stunt in which Spider-Man appears to stand atop antagonist the Green Goblin as the two characters swoop above the audience.

"It was a bit long; there were things that could be cut," said Colleen Pugliese of Long Beach. "The guy who played the Green Goblin was spectacular," she added. "He stole the show."

The $65-$70 million show - the most expensive in Broadway history by far - had a problematic preview Sunday, with the curtain rising 24 minutes late and the musical halting five times for technical or wardrobe reasons. One instance involved rescuing a Spider-Man stunt aerialist - initially misidentified in press accounts as star Reeve Carney, according to a production representative Wednesday - stranded in a harness above the audience.

Those travails inspired one Long Islander at that opening show to enter Broadway lore by loudly proclaiming she felt the audience was being used as "guinea pigs" for a full-price "dress rehearsal."

That audience member, Denise Chabstain of Long Beach, told Newsday Wednesday that her husband is a musician and she "would never interrupt a performer. But nothing was happening when I said it. Not even the musicians were playing. The producers brought a product to market. This is a business. You pay a lot of money for those tickets and the product was not ready. I felt like we part of a focus group."

Last night's show began at about 8:05 p.m. and ended at 11:04, before curtain calls, with a half-hour intermission.

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