'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' Producer Slams Critics, Defends Show

10:47 PM PST 02/08/2011 by THR staff
Jacob Cohl

"Any of the people who review the show and say it has no redeeming value are just not legitimate reviewers, period," Michael Cohl says.

Now a Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark producer is speaking out on the show's behalf.

Hours after a spokesman fired back at critics for filing early reviews of the Broadway musical, producer Michael Cohl said those who didn't like the show are out of touch.

"Any of the people who review the show and say it has no redeeming value are just not legitimate reviewers, period," Cohl told Entertainment Weekly late Tuesday. "It's hard to have people that don't get pop culture reviewing a pop culture event, isn't it?"

Critics from The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and The Washington Post are among those who panned the show in reviews posted online Monday. [Read THR's review here.]

Earlier Tuesday, show spokesman Rick Miramontez voiced his anger at critics weighing in before the musical's official March 15 opening.

"The PILE-ON by the critics was ridiculous and uncalled for," he told EW in a statement. "Their actions are unprecedented and UNCOOL!"

He also told the Associated Press: "Changes are still being made and any review that runs before the show is frozen is totally invalid."

Cohl declined to say whether critics will be invited to the opening, saying: "We didn't invite them this week. They clearly don't need an invite, do they?"

But THR's David Rooney justified running the review: "Official opening is not until March 15, but following repeat postponements and what feels like 30 years of previews, The Hollywood Reporter is observing the previously scheduled opening of Feb. 7 with this review."

Meanwhile, Cohl emphasized that the production continues to be fine-tuned until its official opening.

"I woke up this morning more determined and more positive than ever," Cohl added. "I said, 'Here we go.'"

The slew of negative reviews is just the latest hurdle for the long-plagued $64 million musical -- the most expensive in Broadway history -- which has suffered creative setbacks, opening-night delays and multiple cast injuries that caused two performers to drop out.

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