Getting over Arachnophobia one Arena Spectacular at a time!

Broadway’s Spiderman: Turn off the Dark has already announced its closing and its move to the casino capital of the world, Las Vegas. But there has been a new development of . . . an arena tour!


Arena tours are nothing new to the world of musical theatre. In fact, this year Melbourne hosted an arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar starring Ben Forster and Tim Minchin. Well, the producer of Spiderman: Turn off the Dark has recently announced plans to slightly alter the rock musical into a form more conducive to a global arena tour.

And this could be the best move the production could make!

While this is slowly changing, the idea of a show in a theatre carries a lot of connotations. Whether it is seen as highbrow, inaccessible or too much of a gamble doesn’t matter. If it is outside the realms of potential audiences’ comfort zones it can easily work against the show.

And that is something that happens with shows like Spiderman. While they may be written with a certain superhero- obsessed audience in mind, these probably aren’t the same people who frequent the theatre very often. If the audience doesn’t want to come to the theatre or is afraid of the unknown experience then the show won’t work.

But an arena is a different story. There isn’t any fear that a new audience member won’t know how to behave or the connotation that the show will be like many other musicals which hold no interest for the potential audience. They can even get up and walk out if they don’t enjoy the show. And this is important when it comes to purchasing tickets.

The risk associated with purchasing tickets dramatically decreases for audiences who are not accustomed with going to the theatre when these shows are performed as arena spectaculars. And ultimately that means less barriers to actually trying out a musical. From there, if they enjoy the show, they may try a similar one which is being played in a theatre like Rocky or In the Heights. Then they may try a theatre show that is slightly out of their comfort zone. And so on and so on.

See where I’m going with this. Holding the Spiderman musical in an arena is a great entry point for new customers who love the content but have never seen a musical.

Keeping with the theme of spiders, the experience isn’t unlike overcoming a fear of the creepy little insects. If you want someone to lose their fear of spiders you don’t throw them in a tank of huntsman spiders and let them out when the screaming stops. You start with something that is within their comfort zone and slowly expand that comfort zone through new tasks.

Well, it is no different in the theatre!