Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark may have turned into a joke, but another Marvel Comics Broadway musical could have been a lot worse. Because back in the '80s, Captain America was almost translated for the stage, and the villain he was supposed to face was ... his own midlife crisis!
An ad that appeared in Marvel's comics in 1985 put out a cattle call for a girl aged 10-14 to play Captain America's "very special friend"—a character we're sure you all remember from the books themselves. (NOT!) But the introduction of an Annie-like sidekick wasn't the only bizarre thing about the show.
Here's how the New York Times described the plot of the musical back then:
Captain America boasts a hero-sized $4 million budget. It's going to be a big one, if everything works out as befits a musical named Captain America. Big, in this case, means a budget of $4 million—a lot of money, even for a superhero fighting for the American dream, the flag and the woman he loves. The superhero will not, in fact, be particularly super when the curtain goes up. The book by Mel Mandel and Norman Sachs (who are also responsible for music and lyrics) has Captain A. going through a mid-life crisis. Fortunately, the action speeds up—his girlfriend, a candidate for President, is captured by terrorists and held hostage at the Lincoln Memorial. That's enough of the plot—when you invest millions, as are Shari Upbin, James Galton and Marvel Comics and some as yet untapped sources, you're entitled to a few secrets.
Cap fighting a midlife crisis instead of the Red Skull, Baron Zemo or MODOK? Somehow we don't see that resulting in the most exciting storyline that could have come from Captain America's long history.
But then, what do we know? After all, we're not the ones who made Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sing and dance!
(via Comics Alliance)