SPIDER-MAN Swings Off Broadway, Part Four: Broadway Run & The Future - Litigation, Celebration & Vegas
As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, the Broadway spectacular that defied odds and expectations to conquer New York, will play its final performance at the Foxwoods Theatre on January 4, 2014. Since it began preview performances on November 28, 2010, and even before they bagan, the show's high and lows were in the news, making it one of the most talked about shows in Broadway history.
To pay tribute Spidey's three years on Broadway, BroadwayWorld will comemmorate it's run with a series of flashbacks to help you relive all of the excitement that is - and was - Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Today's final edition of 'SPIDER-MAN Swings Off Broadway' chronicles the production's three-year run, eclipsing the expectations of critics and naysayers that claimed Spidey would fail to weave his web on the Great White Way. From Taymor's notorious legal battle with the show's producers, to an official closing notice, SPIDER-MAN has managed to remain at the Foxwoods night after night, providing audiences with a never-before-seen evening of theatre - and the promise of a Las Vegas venture in the near future.
June 18, 2011: Ensemble Member Luther Creek Receives Gypsy Robe
Following SPIDER-MAN's opening night, the fabled Gypsy Robe is bestowed upon SPIDER-MAN cast member Luther Creek at the Foxwoods Theatre.
June 19, 2011: Julie Taymor Opens Up About 'Simpler' SPIDERMAN 2.0
For the first time since she was famously removed from the production in April 2011, former director Julie Taymor speaks out on the 'simpler' SPIDER-MAN '2.0.' For more than a hundred previews, Taymor led SPIDER-MAN through all of its highs and well-reported lows, and though she kept her "original direction" credit but her role was greatly diminished and the show received a major overhaul.
Before the heavy revisions implemented during SPIDER-MAN's hiatus, the story had been heavily critiqued for its complexity. During a Los Angeles theater conference, Taymor confirms that she hadn't intended for audiences to find the story overly easy to follow. If people don't know how to talk about it, she said, "In my world, and in your world, [that's] a good thing. You want people to absorb, they should be entertained, they should have a great time, but they should also be stimulated enough that when they go home or talk to their kids, they are actually digesting, thinking, talking about it."
Taymor's first viewing of the reworked show was reportedly on its June 14 opening night. What did she think? "The production today has become much simpler," she told the crowd, and left it at that.
July 1, 2011: SPIDER-MAN Experiences First Serious Technical Issues Since Previews, Cancels Flying Sequences
For the first time since previews, SPIDER-MAN is plagued by severe technical issues, and cancels the flying sequences of that evening's performance due to a technical glitch with one of the flying rigs that supports the stunts over the audience, according to a production source. The problem with the mechanism used to send the actors in flight through the Foxwoods was detected before the show, allegedly. The show went on as scheduled sans most of the flying, however the production offered refunds to those who wished t
September 2, 2011: Reeve Carney & Jennifer Damiano Featured on BWW's First Episode of BACKSTAGE WITH Richard Ridge
SPIDERMAN's leads Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano are featured on BroadwayWorld's inaugural episode of BACKSTAGE WITH Richard Ridge, in which they open up about how the company dealt with the media frenzy, working with artistic icons Bono, Edge and Julie Taymor, and that infamous hanging kiss.
September 29, 2011: Julie Taymor Prepares to Begin Arbitration with SPIDER-MAN Producers
The New York Times reports that Julie Taymor and the producers of the show will enter arbitration next week over the $500,000 in royalties that Taymor claims is owed to her. Taymor, who was let go as director of the show in March, filed a claim in June that she never receivEd Royalties from the production and was only paid $125,000 when the project was launching five years ago.
November 6-10, 2011: Jennifer Damiano Plays Final Performance as 'Mary Jane;' Rebecca Faulkenberry Steps in
Original 'Mary Jane' Jennifer Damiano departs SPIDER-MAN on November 6, with ROCK OF AGES' Rebecca Faulkenberry joining the cast at the Foxwoods on November 10.
November 8, 2011 - April 10, 2013: Julie Taymor Files Lawsuit Against SPIDER-MAN Producers, Enters Two-Year Legal Battle
In what would become one of the most notorious, and highly-scrutinized legal battles the theater industry has ever seen, ousted director Julie Taymor officially files a lawsuit against SPIDER-MAN's producers. The decision launches a two-year court battle, with litigation going back and forth, dismissals motioned, and numerous settlements falling through. Finally, on April 10, 2013, the New York Times confirms that Taymor and producers had settled their "acrimonious legal battle over profits, copyright claims and artistic credit for the $75 million show, the most expensive in Broadway history." An insider labels the final settlement an "artistic" divorce, and confirms Taymor will receive a "significant" financial settlement depending on SPIDER-MAN's long-lasting popularity. With the deal dry, Taymor will no longer have any say in what the producers determine to do with Spidey in years to come, whether that involves launching subsequent productions, book alterations, or national/international tours.
"As a result of the settlement the Broadway production has been re-engineered financially so it'll be easier for 'Spider-Man' to eventually make a profit," a source familiar with the legal agreement told the publication. "The settlement basically removes a number of impediments toward having a long and commercially healthy run on Broadway and having future productions of the show around the world that will benefit everyone involved."
November 9, 2011: Matthew James Thomas Suffers Head Injury
'Peter Parker' alternate (and future PIPPIN star,) Matthew James Thomas, suffers a head injury backstage during the Wednesday matinee. Reeve Carney, who was in the theatre for the performance, takes over for the rest of the show.
November 13-15, 2011: SPIDER-MAN's 'Arachne' T.V. Carpio Exits, is Replaced by Christina Sajous
SPIDER-MAN's resident 'Arachne,' T.V. Carpio, exits the production on November 13, and is replaced by Christina Sajous on November 15.
November 24, 2011: Cast of SPIDER-MAN Performs at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Joining the ranks of some of Broadway's biggest shows, the stars of SPIDER-MAN performs at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Reeve Carney leads the cast in a medley performance.
November 28, 2011: SPIDER-MAN Begins Second Year on Broadway, Hits $2 Million in Weekly Sales
SPIDER-MAN begins its second year of performances on Broadway since beginning previews in 2010. Producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said, "We were staunchly committed to getting this show open and to doing whatever we could so that SPIDER-MAN would be in New York City for this year and those to come. We're thrilled with the incredible response from our fantastic audiences at each and every performance."
During the week, SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark sets an all-time box office record for the Foxwoods Theatre - grossing a $2,070,195.60 for the week ending November 27, 2011.
April 4, 2012: Injured Former SPIDER-MAN Stuntman Joshua Kobak Files $6 Million Lawsuit
Joshua Kobak, who replaced famously injured stuntman Christopher Tierney in SPIDER-MAN, files a $6 million lawsuit against the show's equipment provider and others after he claims to have suffered a number of injuries.
May 27-29, 2012: Christina Sajous Departs Production, Kristina Lenk Joins Cast as 'Arachne'
After over six months in SPIDER-MAN, Christina Sajous departs, and is succeeded by Kristina Lenk as 'Arachne.'
June 10, 2012: SPIDER-MAN Responds to Tony Snubs by Offering Free Tickets to Those Named 'Tony'
After only scoring two Tony nominations, SPIDER-MAN holds a special 'Tony Sunday' performance for which anyone with the first name Anthony, Tony, Antonio, Antoinette, Toni, or Antonia are eligible to receive a free ticket.
June 14, 2012: SPIDER-MAN Celebrates First Anniversary Since Opening on Broadway
After all of Spidey's troubles, the production celebrates its first anniversary since opening on Broadway on June 14, 2011. SPIDER-MAN welcomes dozens of super-fans of the performance, including Christine Antosca, who attends the show for the 100th time.
August 5-7, 2012: Robert Cuccioli Succeeds Patrick Page as 'Green Goblin'
Original cast member Patrick Page, who plays 'Green Goblin' exits the production. Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli steps in for Page, and plays his first performance on August 7.
October 23, 2012: Glen Berger Announces Tell-All SPIDER-MAN Book
The New York Times reports that SPIDER-MAN co-writer Glen Berger, will write a book on the whole saga, titled "Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History." Jonathan Karp of Simon & Schuster told NYT: '"I just think it's a good story. From the pages I've seen, I think it will be an insightful and entertaining account of the making of this musical.' The book receives a tentative 2013 release.
November 27, 2012: SPIDER-MAN Joins Top 20 Highest-Grossing Shows of All Time
SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK hits the milestone as one of the Top 20 highest grossing Broadway shows of all time (with a total gross of $145,781,262 million and counting). "To find ourselves in the pantheon alongside the biggest smashes of all time, like The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Lion King, and Cats, is nothing short of thrilling for all of us," producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said in a statement. "It still feels like we just opened this show yesterday. What an exciting way to celebrate our anniversary."
November 28, 2012: SPIDER-MAN Celebrates Second Anniversary Since Beginning Previews on Broadway
The production celebrates its second anniversary on Broadway since beginning previews on November 28, 2010, and has now been seen by over one million audience members from around the world.
December 8, 2012: DEGRASSI's Jake Epstein Boards SPIDER-MAN as 'Peter Parker' Alternate
DEGRASSI star Jake Epstein makes his Broadway debut as the 'Peter Parker/Spider-Man' alternate, playing Saturday and Sunday matinee performances.
August 6, 2013: Performance Canceled Due to Technical Issues
SPIDER-MAN cancels evening performance due to technical issues, and offers refunds to audience members. In a statement, spokesperson Rick Miramontez tells BWW: "Last night's performance of SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark was cancelled due to technical difficulties that were discovered during pre-set. The problem has been resolved and performances of Broadway's most technologically ground-breaking show will resume as scheduled beginning with today's matinee. "
August 14, 2013: Justin Matthew Sargent Joins SPIDER-MAN as 'Peter Parker' Alternate
ROCK OF AGES' Justin Matthew Sargent swings out of the 1980s and into the Foxwoods as the latest 'Peter Parker/Spider-Man' alternate, replacing Jake Epstein.
August 15, 2013 - Present: Daniel Curry Seriously Injured During SPIDER-MAN Performance, Equity Launches Ongoing Investigation, Intends to Take Legal Action
On August 15, 2013, Daniel Curry is severely injured during a performance of SPIDER-MAN, which is immediately canceled as paramedics respond. Curry goes on to file court papers after he "sustained fractured legs and a fractuRed Foot, and has had surgeries and amputations as a result," according to The New York Times. Curry and his lawyers claim that the accident was due to "malfunctioning equipment," while the producers insist that it was not human error. A settlement has not been reached, nor has the case been resolved at this time. As ticket sales immediately drop following the accident, Curry's fellow castmates Robert Cuccioli and Christina DeCicco host A WEB OF LOVE benefit and auction at Nuyorican Poet's Cafe to help the injured actor with medical bills. Following the incident, Actors' Equity launches its own investigation into the incident, which is ongoing.
September 15, 2013: Original Cast Member Reeve Carney Departs, Alternate Justin Matthew Sargent Steps in as 'Spidey'
Reeve Carney, who's played 'Peter Parker/Spider-Man' nightly since 2010, departs the production for a role in Showtime's new drama PENNY DREADFUL. Role alternate Justin Matthew Sargent is upped to a principle cast member, and officially steps in for Carney.
November 5, 2013: Glen Berger's 'SONG OF SPIDER-MAN' Released
SPIDER-MAN co-writer, Glen Berger, releases his tell-all book SONG OF SPIDER-MAN: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL MUSICAL IN BROADWAY HISTORY.
November 18-19, 2013: SPIDER-MAN Announces Jan. 5, 2014 Closing Date
On November 18, 2013, Producers confirm that SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK will end its Broadway run after three years. The next day, an official closing date of January 5, 2014 is announced, and its confirmed that Spidey will soon weave his web in Las Vegas. The show, which shattered a number of Broadway's box office records, will not recoup its monumental $75 million total investment by its closing date this weekend. For weeks before the announcement, the show has been struggling to break even with its weekly costs of $1 million.
SPIDER-MAN spokesperson Rick Miramontez says in a statement: "SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark will be ending its historic Broadway run in January 2014. We are excited to report that the next destination for SPIDER-MAN will be the entertainment capital of the world: Las Vegas. Further details will be announced in the weeks to come."
The show, one of the most famous arguably the most famous in Broadway history, is currently the 16th highest grossing Broadway production of all time, having taken in more than $200 million at the box office. The show has been seen by approximately two million fans, and will have played 1,268 performances by the time it takes its final bow at the Foxwoods Theatre.
November 28, 2013: SPIDER-MAN Celebrates Third Anniversary on Broadway Since Beginning Previews
SPIDER-MAN celebrates its thIrd anniversary since beginning previews in 2011, prior to its official closing date of January 5, 2014.
December 30, 2013: Joe Allen Confirms SPIDER-MAN Will Not Join Infamous 'Flop Wall'
Since the announcement that Spidey would swing off of Broadway, there has been speculation as to whether the show will make it to the infamous wall of flops at Joe Allen. Allen himself confirms that the show will not, and releases the following statement: "A lot of people have been asking if we are going to put SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Darkon the flop wall, so let me say, once and for all: absolutely not. Any show that plays for three years on Broadway, providing steady employment to members of the theater community and pumping money into the local economy, is no failure in my book."
With SPIDER-MAN swinging off of Broadway tomorrow after a three-year run, producers look to the show's future - and multiple locales - in order to determine where Spidey may weave his next web.
Though offers to mount the show have reportedly come in from Russia, Germany and Japan, SPIDER-MAN's first stop will be Las Vegas, the show's producers recently confirmed.
In a statement issued in the official closing announcement, producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said: "Our years on Broadway have afforded us the opportunity to build an internationally recognized brand, and Las Vegas, with its year-round stream of tourists seeking the world's best entertainment, is the natural home for this next incarnation. To prepare for the Las Vegas production, we have tasked the creative team to push the boundaries even further, taking the same story and making it sleeker, bolder, and more spectacular than ever."
As previously reported, Casino executive Steve Wynn is currently working to land the production, and according to the Las Vegas Sun, Wynn is trying to makee space for Spidey at the Encore Theatre. Robin Leach writes: "I can safely confirm Steve's "very serious interest" in moving the high-flying spectacular to open in his Encore Theater in a year, but nothing is apparently yet signed and sealed. He's prepared to financially back its revamped version, adding incredible, stunning Las Vegas elements to the extravaganza.'
SPIDER-MAN won't end in Vegas, however. Cohl also recently opened up to Billboard about the big transfer - and began to offer some concrete details on what might lie ahead.
On how the new production might differ from the Broadway show, he said: "We haven't figured that out yet, but the show will change. When we opened in New York, we treated it a bit like a comic book that we all loved. New characters will come and others will be taken out, and the story will change slightly and there will probably be a couple of new songs. At it's core it will still be Spider-Man, but it will be a different enough show to be a fresh experience for those that have seen it, and for those that have never seen it, it will still be the most spectacular theatrical show they ever experienced."
Cohl also confirmed that producers are exploring a potential arena tour, adding: " We're much closer today than we were six months ago, in terms of what the design's going to be like, what the show needs to be and getting to a point where we can start to budget. I would expect it to be touring arenas by 2016."
With Broadway behind him, and the Vegas lights ahead, Spidey is set to keep swinging - with the headlines sure to follow.
For the first three parts of BroadwayWorld's 'SPIDER-MAN Swings Off Broadway' series, click here.