Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can Julie Taymor, A Slingshot and $60M Save Our Beloved Comic Book Hero?

Luck Be a Lady... Or a Spider(Man)

Postponed… again. That’s the report from the producers of one of this season’s most highly anticipated musicals, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Plagued from the start, the production’s latest myriad of troubles surround health and safety concerns following injuries during a stunt that sent actor Kevin Aubin flying through the air and landing in the hospital with two broken wrists. This news was almost immediately followed with reports that another actor broke both his feet attempting the same stunt. This actor, who has requested to remain anonymous due to career concerns, was injured performing the sling-shot effect a month earlier. Producer Michael Cohl said the accident was a result of a “multitude of factors, technical and human”. Health and safety inspectors are involved in an on-going investigation as 24 aerial stunts have not been reviewed and declared safe, attaining the necessary legal permits to perform the stunts.

Julie Taymor
If the show ever makes it to opening night, it won’t be due to luck. Under the guidance and vision of the brilliant Julie Taymor (The Lion King), the creative team boasts the inventive talents of U2’s Bono and The Edge as composer and lyricists with a book by Taymor and Glen Berger; choreography by Daniel Ezralow and Cirque de Soleil artist, Jaque Paquin designing the elaborate aerial rigging for Scott Rogers challenging aerial design. In total, there are 20 artists and companies listed as part of the creative team making it one of Broadway’s largest ever.

The most recent delays caused by technical and safety concerns are not the first for the Spider-Man team to conquer. Currently at six years in the making, the show was at one point scheduled to open in February of 2010. Financing this cobwebbed extravaganza temporarily halted until lead producer, rock promoter Michael Cohl came on board last fall. The 60 million dollar price tag is the largest for any Broadway musical ever with the average musical budget hovering around 15 million dollars. Then last spring, stars Evan Rachel Wood (Mary Jane Watson) and Alan Cumming (Green Goblin) bailed on the production and were replaced by Next to Normal star Jennifer Damiano and Patrick Page (The Lion King). In July, Boneau/Bryan-Brown abandoned the production as press agent and was replaced by the firm, O & M Co. No explanation was given.

Other delays are blamed on the creative team. Taymor has reportedly spent a majority of the production time working out stunts and aerial tricks. In the meantime, sources close to the show, have said that music and dialogue are in pieces and haven’t been connected with Taymor’s focus, the visuals.
The Edge

This could be the biggest show ever to hit Broadway and it could also be the biggest flop. It is estimated that weekly running costs will run close to, if not exceed, 1 million dollars. The only other time a major comic book hero graced the Great White Way was Superman in 1966 in It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman! Which never caught on, closing after 129 performances and a financial loss.

Producers are banking on Taymor’s genius and the success of her last Broadway venture, The Lion King which to date has grossed nearly 750 million dollars. That combined the wildly popular success of Bono and The Edge (their band U2) and the undying popularity of the Spider-Man franchise, sounds like a match made in heaven to some… and a sticky-web of commercialism and greed to others.

MARVEL, Spider-Man and all related Marvel characters and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries, and are used with permission. Copyright © 2010 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. All rights reserved

Resources and Related Story Links:

Taymor to Direct Spider-Man Musical, Scored by Bono & Edge by BWW News Desk(2007)

Spider-Man the musical hangs by a thread
Paul Harris , The Observer, Sunday 9 August 2009
‘Spider-Man’ Musical Announces New Producers, Star By DAVE ITZKOFF November 6, 2009
While ‘Spider-Man’ Musical Offers Refunds By PATRICK HEALY; Compiled by DAVE ITZKOFF 01/12/10

Long-delayed Spider-Man musical finally appears back on track Posted on June 16, 2010 by Kevin Melrose

New PR Team for ‘Spider-Man’ Musical By PATRICK HEALY July 15, 2010

‘Spider-Man’ musical is off and web-slinging By Mark Kennedy - Associated Press Writer October 10, 2010
That Spider-Man musical is probably going to kill somebody By Sean O'neal October 29, 2010
Another Actor Speaks of ‘Spider-Man’ Injuries By PATRICK HEALY October 29,2010

Could Spider-Man the Musical be the 'biggest disaster in Broadway history'? POSTED ON NOVEMBER 4, 2010

U2's 'Spider-Man' Musical Delayed  By Peter Gaston on November 5, 2010 10:07 AM

Caught in a web of health and safety: Spider-Man musical delayed due to daring stunts which have left actors injured By BAZ BAMIGBOYE
 6th November 2010

"It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman"

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