‘Spider-Man’ B-Way Star Reeve Carney Talks High-Flying Role, Fame

After a bit of a bumpy start, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has become a Broadway blockbuster — thanks in large part to the show’s star, Reeve Carney. With one of the most physically demanding roles the Great White Way has ever seen thanks to the high-flying antics that playing Spidey entails, Reeve has to pair up brut athletic strength while still belting out the show’s massive musical numbers penned by Bono and The Edge of U2.

Celebuzz chatted with Carney about how the role came to be, how he prepared for the grueling role and how being thrust into the spotlight is just something that comes with the territory nowadays. Through it all, Reeve — a soft-spoken rocker at heart — is loving everything about his Spider-Man gig, especially how he’s able to put smiles on childrens’ faces night after night.

Check out our chat below, and for more info on the show, visit the official site:

You’ve been doing the show for quite some time now. Even after months and months of flying around every night, is the rush still the same as it was back when the show opened?

It’s some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. On most Broadway shows you get to sing and act and maybe dance, but in this show I get to fly. It’s kind of crazy. I grew up pretty athletic, so when I started working out for this show, the trainers kept saying that I had a great build for it. It’s pretty cool — it’s just a very odd experience to be able to utilize so many aspects of what I’ve been trained in.

What was the training like?

One of the tests we had to do was climb up a 30 foot rope without using our legs. I was surprised I could do it. The main thing I really needed to work on was my core strength, because for the flying routines, that’s the most important part of being able to control yourself.

What’s your pre-show routine? Do you have any superstitious things that you have to do right before you go on or after? If not a routine, what do you do to prepare?

At this point there’s some incredible martial artists that stretch me out. I do some standard stretches in my forearms and tendons and hands. It’s better to be more pliable. I learned a lot from Chris Daniels, who’s basically the Spider-Man you see in the films. He taught me a lot of things about how to keep my hips open. The main thing for me is the vocal warmup though. When you’re in a house this large, you have to tell a lot of stories with the movement of your body.

It’s a very high-adrenaline show. Does doing the performance night after night lose its impact after a while?

I definitely still get the rush. It’s a different feeling because I’m more comfortable now. You want a little bit of the nerves to give that edge, but being relaxed is a good thing. One thing I want to remember is the smiling kids out there — I just want to live up to their expectations, so I need to be on my game.

We mentioned the physical demands of the show. Are there some days where you think to yourself “Man, I kind of wish I was in Chicago” or a show that wouldn’t beat you up like Spider-Man does?

I don’t think about it that way for a few reasons. One, I’m not a very skilled dancer. Dancing wasn’t required. Two, I’ve liked extreme sports and pushing my body in extreme ways. I enjoy it. Physically it can be exhausting, but it’s worth it because it’s good for your body.

If you could play any other superhero, who would it be?

The funny thing is, I’ve always been a slow reader. Maybe it’s ADD, but my mind wanders, and I end up reading the same thing over and over. Still, I love the imagery of comic books, so I have read my fair share. I hear they’re doing a thing in London called Batman Live — I don’t think it’s a musical, but Batman has always been one of my favorite superheroes. There’s something villainous and dark about him.

Just like in Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility — or in the media, scrutiny. How do you deal when tries snapping a photo of you or you read personal items in the press?

I think it’s something that anyone who suddenly gets attention in the media for any type of thing they’re doing, it’s a little disorienting. It’s confusing. It’s something you have to get used to, but being part of a show that’s so high-profile in terms of scrutiny, people were giving it a hard time, but it wound up fueling the success of the show. I try not to take it personally. A lot of journalists — a lot are entertainers and are thespians with a pen and paper. I try not to take it too personally because all they’re trying to do is sell paper or magazines, and hyperbole is something that just sells. Most of what people read is an exaggeration of what’s going on, but you just kind of take it with a grain of salt.

You have your own band, Carney. Is a music career the direction you’d like to go ultimately, or is acting, whether on Broadway or in movies, the next step?

My heart and soul will always be fully committed to music. The thing in this day and age with the homogenization music, there’s a lot of popular music that I love, but I think there’s just too much of the same. With my band, the theory has always been there’s no point in trying to do what Lady Gaga or someone else does. However, oftentimes people try to ride on the coattails of what’s popular. What I’ve always tried to do is what I do best and what my band Carney does best. That’s been my heart and soul from the beginning. This other stuff has just been great opportunities.

In this current landscape, it seems that having these other avenues to explore is commonplace. Ten years ago it would have been very cheesy. Now, I look at it as just fueling everything else I’m doing.