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'Spider-Man' Set to Break Jackie Mason's Record for Most Broadway Previews

Jackie Mason In 1969, Jackie Mason's stage comedy A Teaspoon Every Four Hours (which the comedian wrote and starred in) played 97 previews, then closed after opening night. Mason spoke to the New York Times' Dave Itzkoff in anticipation of the delayed opening of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which will eclipse Mason's record after more than 100 preview performances by the time it opens on March 15.

A Teaspoon Every Four Hours was eviscerated by theater critics,  partly because they had waited so long for the completed play to open. Mason tells the NY Times, "The longest preview period, I don't see as an honor. Running a show after it opens, I see as an honor."

So how does he feel knowing that Spider-Man will trump his famous failure? He says, "I won’t cry a tear because there’s nothing to be excited about." But the veteran performer also described the new musical as a "war zone" and says that at least "nobody was getting killed during my show. I was the only guy getting killed – by the critics. But I had the decency not to kill other people."

Mason added that needing so many previews -- and so many delays on the way to opening night -- is "a public admission that so far the show stinks. And if it doesn’t exactly stink, it might stink. Which means that you don’t believe in the show yourself yet."

So, should the producers of Spider-Man heed a word of warning from Jackie Mason? Leave your comments to let us know.

Read the full story at the NY Times ArtsBeat.

-- Daniel Lehman

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