NEW YORK (AP) -- Reeve Carney, the actor who played the hero in "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" for three years on Broadway, returned to his dressing room to clean it out Monday, a day after bidding an emotional goodbye to a show he still calls "amazing."
"It's really hard to leave, man. I've got to be honest with you," he said from inside the Foxwoods Theatre.
Like a varsity quarterback returning to fetch his old sweats after graduation, Carney returned to rescue some guitar cases and shake hands for the last time as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. On Saturday, he boards a flight to Dublin for his next adventure: The filming of a Showtime drama.
"I'm definitely overwhelmed emotionally," Carney said. "I'm obviously so thrilled to have the opportunity to try something completely different, but at the same time I'm going to miss this place and these people in particular so much."
The actor was visibly teary eyed at the curtain call as he thanked original director Julie Taymor, songwriters Bono and The Edge, producers Michael Cohl and Jere Harris, and the entire company. He symbolically handed over the hero's mask to the new Spidey, Justin Matthew Sargent, who played Drew in Broadway's "Rock of Ages." Outside the stage door, he took 45 minutes to sign autographs and pose for photos and then went to party. "It was nice to sleep in," he said with a laugh.
"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" is Broadway's most expensive show with a price tag of $75 million. It has become one of its biggest hits after a rocky start, with six delays in its opening night, injuries to fellow actors, a shake-up that led to the firing of Taymor and critical drubbing.
He said the process has been crazy "but in a positive way." He added: "I would say this has been the most incredible experience of my life." His parting gift from the show was a piano prop that the Goblin throws into the orchestra pit, signed by the entire cast.
Carney is the lead singer of the rock band Carney, which also includes his younger brother Zane on guitar. The band has released the album "Mr. Green" but both brothers are putting out solo music until they can find the time to work together again. Zane Carney has released the CD "Confluence" and is on tour with John Mayer.
Reeve Carney, who is planning to make his own album, has appeared in several films, including Julie Taymor's adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and "Snow Falling on Cedars." He most recently starred in Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" video and attended the MTV's Video Music Awards with Swift last month. He has been picked to play the musician Jeff Buckley in the upcoming musical biopic "Mystery White Boy" and will now star in the Showtime drama series "Penny Dreadful."
On Sunday, some alumni of the show stopped by to bid Carney farewell after 840 shows, including the great Shakespearian actor Patrick Page, the original Green Goblin, who cheered on his former co-star, and Christopher Tierney, one of several actors who plays Spider-Man who was badly injured in the show but returned to perform.
The irony of his new move to Ireland is not lost on Carney. "It's kind of odd that I started here in 'Spider-Man' with some guys from Dublin and now I'm moving to their hometown," he said.
Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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