The Seattle shoestring parody is going head to head against the New York bombast by Julie Taymor, the boys from U2, et al. My money's on Seattle.
Spidermann, by John Osebold of theater-band "Awesome," was an exercise in throwing stuff at the wall and seeing if it stuck. Just three weeks before it opened last January, Osebold wrote me an email saying he only had half of his performers lined up and that the show was still "furiously being written and video being made."
Things stuck (in a good way). Paul Constant reviewed it and thought its satire was right on the mark:
[Spider-Man] is a parade balloon of pomposity, inflated on ego and practically begging for the darts of amateur critics everywhere."
By contrast, John Osebold's Spidermann went from conception to reality in less than a month (its three-day run concluded last Saturday). It ran just under an hour and was performed radio-play style, with actors reading from scripts on music stands. The whole thing probably cost a couple hundred bucks, and it was performed in the tiny Satori Lofts at 619 Western in Pioneer Square to audiences that paid five bucks a pop for the quick-and-dirty thrill of seeing a bootleg musical production. Spidermann wasn't a Mad magazine—style parody of Spider-Man; nobody wore tights or performed any stunts (a folded ladder that lay at the edge of the makeshift stage ultimately went unused, a passive suggestion of the kind of Jackass-level insanity one immediately imagines a Spider-Man knockoff would attempt). Instead, bursts of dialogue were punctuated with video of spiderwebs, old cartoons, and stock footage.
Now Spidermann is going to New York to nip at Spider-Man's heels. From an email Osebold sent a few days ago:
... just an update on the tiny-ass show that could. Spidermann is officially going to NYC for three performances March 13-14 (the Broadway version opens March 15) at The Tank, a few blocks from the Foxwoods Theatre where they will be Turning Off the Dark. It's serious now! Not really.
Congratulations, Spidermann. We're rooting for you.