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Friday Feature: “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman”

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It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman

Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s the return of the Friday Feature!

When a mad scientist threatens Metropolis, it’s Superman to the rescue…right?  What if Superman wasn’t there?  What if the Man of Steel was otherwise occupied, being honored for his heroic deeds by a group of local kids at the very moment City Hall was being blown up?  Faced with his inability to save the day, would the Last Son of Krypton finally be pushed over the edge?

That’s not a story you’ll find in any DC Comic, however, now or then.  Rather, it’s the plot of the 1966 Broadway musical It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman, currently being revived in New York for a limited run through March 24 as part of City Center’s Encores! series.  Years before Julie Taymor and Bono infamously brought Spider-Man to Broadway, producer-director Harold Prince, songwriters Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, and writers Robert Benton and David Newman saw the potential in bringing Clark Kent, Lois Lane and company to the musical stage.  The team devised a plot about a revenge-crazed scientist and expanded the traditional Clark Kent/Lois Lane/Superman love triangle by adding Jim Morgan, a paramour for Lois, and Sydney, a suitor for Clark.  Yet Superman folded after just 129 performances, despite three Tony-nominated performances and a deliciously enjoyable score that’s endured thanks to the Columbia Records cast album produced by the label’s chief, Goddard Lieberson.  With Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s timeless creation once again taking down the bad guys on a New York stage, the time has never been better to revisit this oft-forgotten part of the Superman mythos.

Are you able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Okay, just “jump” to keep reading! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 22, 2013 at 12:45