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Nina In New York: Superhero Show Tunes Are The New Black

A young professional's take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

Oh, dear. Oh, dear, dear, dear.

Not to be outdone by his buddy, that other masked crusader, the Batman himself is coming to the stage. But, it has nothing to do with "Spiderman: Turn off the Dark." I repeat: nothing.

Yes, friends, it's yet another show you haven't been clamoring to see, yet one more name to add to the list of head-scratching pop-culture conceits that will grace the theaters over the next year. That's pronounced: thee-ay-tahs.

There has been a baffling parade of musicals cropping up lately, like the currently-running productions of "Sister Act" and "Catch Me if You Can," not to mention forthcoming projects like: "Bring It On: The Musical," about high school cheerleaders who are forced to pretend to like Kirstin Dunst; "Father of the Bride," which I would actually go see if they could get Steve Martin to reprise his role (though I would settle for Martin Short and B.D. Wong together again); "Betty Boop," a musical interpretation of the world's most impressive licensing agreement; and last but not least, a jaunty, song-filled adaptation of Milton's epic poem, entitled "Paradise Lost: Where in Hell Am I?!" (Producers of the real version: I give you permission to adopt this title.)

Unfortunately, "Batman Live" will not be a musical. It's got less to do with singing and more to do with people flinging themselves around mid-air in an effort to either save or destroy Gotham City. According to the show's website, it promises to be "a theatrical extravaganza of thrilling stunts, acrobatic acts and illusions." So, like I said, this in no way has the potential to be another "Spiderman" fiasco. It is an entirely different sort of special effects-heavy stage production about a comic book superhero. It's opening in Europe first, so I suppose there's a chance we'll never really know. But I find it hard to imagine that a show set in Gotham wouldn't make a stop in its namesake city. So, to the Batmezzanine!

I realize that dreck is nothing new to Broadway (or anywhere else). But it seems like lately it's coming fast and furious, and every idiotic combination of movie + show tunes is being given the green light. If some of these budgets weren't so high, I'd think that perhaps someone was trying to pull a little "Springtime for Hitler" action on us. But no, more likely it's just desperate producers glomming onto a commercial trend in an attempt to appeal to a mass audience. It makes Times Square that much more irritating to walk through.

I, for one, am holding out for something good and worthy of the stage. Like "Terminator 2: Come with Me if You Want to Dance." That would just be awesome.

Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I'm always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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