With a budget of over $65 million, this ambitious production is a study in contradictions: it is the Broadway musical that you are most likely to want to see, and the Broadway musical most likely to kill you.
SPIDER-MAN: played by Renee Carvey, with Michael James Thomas filling in for several performances each week. As the titular superhero, timid Peter Parker is gifted with the amazing powers of his namesake: the ability to swing from wires and spontaneously improvise musical numbers that sound suspiciously like U2 b-sides.
MARY JANE: played by Jennifer Damiano, Mary Jane is Spider-Man's love interest. She is featured in a series of pictures by famed photographer Anne Leibowit. Her character is portrayed as wearing elaborate dresses, and standing next to supervillains looking bored.
GREEN GOBLIN: played by Patrick Page. In a contemporary reimagining of the original villain, this version of the Green Goblin appears to be an intelligent flying palm tree with a deadly eco-terrorist agenda.
THE GEEK CHORUS is a choir of comic book aficionados who collaboratively devolop the play's narrative as fan fiction. Industry insiders have suggested that these characters represent Taymor's bid to secure the special "blatantly mocking your audience and getting away with it" award at the Tonys.
CARNAGE: is a terrible, terrible character created in the 1990s. He was developed as an edgier, darker, villainous counterpart to Venom, who was conceived as a darker, edgier, villainous counterpart to Spider-Man. So he's like the supervillain version of G2 or Mountain Dew: Code Red. Also, he's called "Carnage," which is like calling a villain "Violence" or "Hurting." Seriously if you like him you are stupid.
In the musical version, Carnage is sympathetically reimagined as a victim of facial paralysis, his condition visually represented by his giant, wobbling, immobile head. His plight is movingly conveyed through a new musical number "Why Can't I Move My Giant, Wobbling, Immobile Head (So I Can Eat Your Brains)".
SWARM: is a Nazi made of bees. This is not a joke. This is an actual character featured in Marvel Comics that someone decided should be included in the musical. Other Spider-Man villains featured include Electro, the Lizard, Kraven the Hunter and Hammerhead. Insiders speculate the production will also include appearances by the Hypno Hustler, Red-9, Stegron the Dinosaur Man, and Topher Grace.
A cameo by Wolverine is unconfirmed but inevitable.
ARACHNE: originally cast as Natalie Mendoza, who recently left the production. The actress' replacement is as of now unannounced. Although she takes her name from an established Marvel Comics heroine, Arachne is essentially a new character created for the musical. Julie Taymor has received acclaim in the past for her proclivity to add strong female characters to male-dominated narratives, including a female Rafiki in The Lion King and the wizard Prospera in her film version of the Tempest.
In the show, Arachne is a gifted but misunderstood artist transformed into a spider by the jealous goddess Athena. She is a major antagonist in the show, with several musical numbers including the title song, and is revealed to be secretly responsible for Spider-Man's origin and subsequent adventures. The character apparently claims that "I'm the only real artist working today."
Going forward, Julie Taymor may receive criticism for her proclivity to add strong female characters who are actually Julie Taymor.
THE SWISS MISS: another original character, based on the director's belief that the production did not include enough sharp, pointy objects.