A scene from "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." (Jacob Cohl / 8 Legged Productions )
NEW YORK -- "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" may have received only two nominations at this year's Tony Awards, but the spirit of the polarizing production hovers over the Tonys -- literally.
In a bit that a person familiar with the production said will appear in Sunday night's telecast, host Neil Patrick Harris will dangle over the Beacon Theatre audience in a Spidey-esque net while presenters carry on with the show, forgetting he's up there. The bit could, of course, be viewed as a gentle jibe of sorts at the show's production woes, in which injuries and hospitalizations dogged rehearsals.
Nominated for two Tonys,"Spider-Man"also figures into the ceremony in other ways. Outside the theater before the show, the show's sole living nominee, set designer George Tsypin (the other nominee, costume designer Eiko Ishioka, passed away recently) said his nomination provided a happy ending to some difficult times.
TONYS 2012: Red carpet | Winners & Nominees
"I definitely do see it as validation," he told The Times. "A lot of people's hard work went into creating the spectacle and I feel like I'm standing here for them."
Despite its notorious production troubles and a beating from many critics, the show has had some unlikely support from others in the theater community.
"I'm a huge fan of 'Spider-Man' and of Julie Taymor," said Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks outside the Beacon, adding that she had seen the version that former director Taymor had stewarded. "It's nice to see it get some Tony recognition."
-- Steven Zeitchik in New York