SPIDER-MAN Swings Off Broadway - The Full History!
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 tonight, 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 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 iias and was Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
In today's edition of 'SPIDER-MAN Swings Off Broadway,' check out the show's FULL history from it's inception in 2007 to future plans for a run in Las Vegas.
April 26, 2007: First Plans Announced
Rumors begin to circulate that a new musical based on Spider-Man will soon weave a web over Broadway audiences. A casting notice reveals that the musical, soon to be presented in an Equity 29-hour rehearsed reading, will be directed by Tony Award-winner Julie Taymor, with music and lyrics byU2's Bono and The Edge and a book by Taymor and Glen Berger.
April 20, 2007: Marvel Confirms
September 23, 2008: Show Planned for 2009
Marvel Studios Chairman David Maisel tells an audience at the Thomas Weisel Consumer Conference in New York that the Spider-Man musical might at last hit Broadway in 2009. The show has been in the works for three and a half years, with casting calls throughout the summer heating up talk about the show.
February 19, 2009: Plans Delayed
Bloomberg News reports that production delays have forced the musical to push back plans for a workshop until late summer and begin rehearsals in the late fall for a Broadway opening at the Hilton Theater likely in early 2010.
After months of speculation, Evan Rachel Wood confirms on the Oscars red carpet that she has been cast as "Mary Jane" in the Broadway-bound musical.
An announcement is made that offcially verifies that Alan Cumming will star as Spidey's nemisis- The Green Goblin. SPIDER-MAN will now begin preview performances Thursday, February 25, 2010 at the Hilton Theatre.
August 12, 2009: Production Stops to Make More Technical Preparations
Spider-Man becomes caught up in the web of it's massive budget. Variety reveals that "the extensive work being done to prepare for the technically demanding show, both in the shop constructing the physical production and in the theater where "SPIDER-MAN" is due to open, is said to have stopped this week."
August 13, 2009: Marquee Goes Up at Hilton Theatre
Despite rumors that production has haulted, the marquee for the new musical is unveiled on 42nd Street. No date for resuming any production work has been announced at this time.
October 22, 2009: Delays Set Opening Back Until Spring 2009
The New York Times confirms that the financially malnourished show is now expected to begin previews and open in the Spring of 2010 due to the weeks of production delays and financial difficulties that have plagued the multi-million dollar mega project for months.
After an exhaustive search that included a casting call tour spanning six cities and thousands of candidates, the producers and creative team select Reeve Carney to play the role of Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man. Carney joins previously announced cast members Evan Rachel Wood as Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker's girlfriend and Alan Cumming as Norman Osborn (aka Green Goblin).
The producers of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark announce another schedule change.The production will not begin preview performances on February 25, 2010. Evan Rachel Wood Departs the show because of a 'scheduling conflict.'
Alan Cumming cuts ties with SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off The Dark. Says a rep for Cumming: "He's disappointed...He's been attached to Spider-Man for a year and he was hopeful that it would make it to the stage and he'd be a part of it."
July 21, 2010: Rehearsals Officially Begin
Though the full, new cast has not yet been announced, it is revealed that rehearsals for the much-delayed and much anticipated SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off the Dark will officially begin on August 16, 2010.
August 10, 2010: New Castmembers Announced
New lead producer Michael Cohl announces that Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark will begin preview performances on Broadway on Sunday, November 14, 2010, at 3 p.m., with Opening Night set for Tuesday evening, December 21. Joining the previously announced Reeve Carney as 'Peter Parker/Spider-Man,' are Tony® Award nominee Jennifer Damiano as 'Mary Jane Watson' and Patrick Page as 'Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin.'
September 10, 2010- SPIDER-MAN Is Introduced to the World
Reeve Carney introduces the first song on Good Morning America. Carney performed the song, composed by Bono and The Edge at the Hudson Theatre in the Millennium Hotel, with the performance broadcast live during the 8am-9am hour.
October 29, 2010: Aubin Injured During Rehearsals
Michael Riedel reports that SPIDER-MAN's Kevin Aubin, one of several performs said to be appearing in a SPIDER-MAN outfit had broken both of his wrists during a small presentation for ticket brokers and group sales agents. Producer Michael Cohl tells the NYP: "With a show as complex as this, safety is the top priority for everyone at 'Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark" Soon after, The New York Times reports that a second SPIDER-MAN performer has come forward to report an injury as a result of the show's complicated stunts. This second performer - who remains anonymous - claims to have broken both feet during the same catapult stunt from which Kevin Aubin broke both wrists.
November 5, 2010: Opening Pushed to 2011
Lead producer Michael Cohl announces that Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark has delayed its first performance and that they will now begin preview performances on Broadway on Sunday, November 28, 2010. Opening Night is now set for Tuesday evening, January 11, 2011.
November 28, 2010: Safety Inspectors Approve Flying Sequences
Safety inspectors from the New York State Department of Labor see and sign off on all 27 flying sequences in SPIDER MAN to promote safety, and the show begins previews on this night at 6:30 pm.
November 28, 2010: Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark Begins Previews on Broadway; Opening Night Set for January 11, 2011
After years of cast change-ups and numerous false starts, Julie Taymor and Glen Berger's all-encompassing production begins previews on Broadway at Foxwoods Theatre. Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano and Patrick Page lead the cast of the musical with a score by Bono and The Edge. Though Spidey may have finally swung onto Broadway, the show's first preview (and many after,) didn't come off without a hitch. Clocking in at over 3 hours and 45 minutes, the first performance was stopped multiple times due to technical errors, which resulted in an elongated intermission.
December 2-15, 2010: Natalie Mendoza Suffers Concussion During First Preview, Out of Show for Two Weeks
SPIDER-MAN's original 'Arachne,' Natalie Mendoza, suffered a concussion during the first preview after being hit by a piece of rope or equipment, it's revealed a few days later. The injury causes Mendoza to take a two-week medical leave, with understudy America Oliva taking on the role.
December 17, 2010: SPIDER-MAN Delays Opening to February 7, 2011
Producers push SPIDER-MAN's opening night from January 11 to February 7, 2011 in order for the creative team to implement new changes. In a statement released, lead producer Michael Cohl said, "Due to some unforeseeable setbacks, most notably the injury of a principal cast member, it has become clear that we need to give the team more time to fully execute their vision. Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark is an extremely ambitious undertaking, as everyone knows, and I have no intention of cutting a single corner in getting to the finish line."
December 20-22, 2010: Actor Christopher Tierney is Injured; SPIDER-MAN Performances Halted
Spidey stuntman Christoper Tierney is severely injured after falling from one of the production's set pieces. The New York Times initially reports that "Tierney sustained a fracture in his skull, a broken scapula, a broken bone close to his elbow, 4 broken ribs, a bruised lung and 3 fractured vertebrae." Actors Equity and the Department of Labor quickly halt performances through December 22 to ensure performers' safety while new measures are implemented.
December 22, 2010: SPIDER-MAN Resumes Performances
Following Tierney's injury and a brief shutdown, the production resumes previews on Broadway with new safety measures in place.
December 29, 2010: SPIDER-MAN Creative Team Speaks Out on Early Negative Reviews
After SPIDER-MAN resumed performances, Newsday and Bloomberg News published early reviews five weeks before the much delayed opening night. Spokesperson Rick Miramontez said, "For a major critic to review a Broadway musical, or play for that matter, after only the twentieth preview, is disappointing and uncalled for. Whatever reason the critic or their editor may have, it does not mask the fact that for decades, musicals have developed in front of paying audiences before critics are INVITED."
December 30, 2010: Natalie Mendoza Exits SPIDER-MAN, T.V. Carpio Steps in
After suffering a concussion during the first preview, Natalie Mendoza exits the production. In a statement, the acterss says, "It has been a difficult decision to make, but I regret that I am unable to continue on SPIDER-MAN as I recover from my injury. I wish Julie and the cast and crew every success with this production." ACROSS THE UNIVERSE actress, T.V. Cario, replaces Mendoza.
Show spokesperson Rick Miramontez confirms that new creative additions are being developed, and that Bono and The Edge will begin attending each preview performance. No details on what might be altered or removed are announced.
Week of January 1, 2011: Injured Actor Christopher Tierney Leaves Hospital, Begins Rehab
Christoper Tierney, who was admitted to the hospital in late December, enters an inpatient rehabilitation facility with "a long way to go" before heading home later that week.
January 7, 2011: Christopher Tierney Attends SPIDER-MAN Performance
After being released from rehab on January 5, Christopher Tierney takes a seat in the Foxwoods, and takes in SPIDER-MAN as an audience member. He told the press before the show began that he believed in the production and the crew, and held no grudge towards anyone. He also confirmed that he would be returning to SPIDER-MAN as soon as possible.
January 10-13, 2011: Heavy Rehearsals and Major Work on New SPIDER-MAN Finale, Music Confirmed to be Underway
With less than a month until opening night, SPIDER-MAN cast and crew rehearse around the clock in order to introduce the show's new finale, as well as other scenes, including Peter's apartment and the Labyrinth sequence, along with understudy rehearsals, costume fittings and more. On January 13, producer Michael Cohl confirms that the new finale has yet to be incorporated into the show. On SPIDER-MAN's opening night, he says, "It's life-I don't expect it to [change], but it's life."
January 13, 2011: Opening Night Pushed to March 15, 2011; Protocol for Critics in Question
Producers announce that SPIDER-MAN's opening night has once again been delayed. The show is now slated to officially bow on March 15, over two months after its originally scheduled opening night. The delay is to allow for more time to fine-tune aspects of the show, including the new ending. Major critics also confirm to BroadwayWorld that because the show will now have been seen by potentially 200,000 audience members before officially opening, they will not wait until March to publish their reviews.
January 19, 2011: New Finale Set
After weeks of rewrites and work, SPIDER-MAN's new high-flying finale is added to the show.
January 21, 2011: Julie Taymor Speaks Out on Christopher Tierney's Injury, Show's Safety Issues
Director Julie Taymor addresses Christoper Tierney's injury in an interview with the New York Times for the first time, aside from her original statement. In an attempt to clear her name from any fault in the injury, Taymor said, "It's physical theater. Someone said it was action theater. And it's a terrible thing to happen but I don't think you can point to someone who actually didn't do the thing and say that they're at fault. We all know what we're doing in here and all of the safety issues have been covered -- and that one there was a mistake on -- and hopefully it could never happen again." Taymor claims that Tierney will do "something on stage on opening night."
January 26, 2011: Alan Cumming: "I Dodged a Bullet with SPIDER-MAN"
After dropping out of the production as 'The Green Goblin,' Tony winner Alan Cumming confirms he believes that he made the right choice. "My GOD, that was a lucky escape," he says. "Jesus Christ! Talk about dodging a bullet there!". And on why he quit the production last April: "...it just fucked me about. It kept getting delayed and delayed, and so I was like, 'OK, time to move on." Cumming was eventually replaced by Patrick Page.
With the new finale set, reworked aerial stunts, blocking, and musical alterations are inserted into the show, as Spidey begins to shape up on Broadway. "It's more challenging, because it's like working on a car that's still moving," Glen Berger, who co-wrote the book with director Julie Taymor, tells Variety.
February 7-8, 2011: Early SPIDER-MAN Reviews Emerge; Producer, Press Rep Speak Out
After confirming that they would not wait until SPIDER-MAN's March 15 opening night to publish their reviews, critics begin sounding off on the struggling show. Most initial reviews are negative, with the UK Telegraph printing "Please, Lord, make it stop," the Washington Post labeling SPIDER-MAN as "170 spirit-snuffing minutes," and the New York Times declaring that the show is "beyond repair." Lead producer Michael Cohl calls the writers "not legitimate reviewers," while spokesperson Rick Miramontez says,"the PILE-ON by the critics was ridiculous and uncalled for. Their actions are unprecedented and UNCOOL!"
February 11, 2011: Focus Group Testing Begins on New Show Material
SPIDER-MAN's producers and creative team begin focus group testing in order to determine what audiences think works in the show - and what doesn't.
February 12 & March 4, 2011: NY State Department of Labor Issues Safety Violations
The New York State Department of Labor Issues slap SPIDER-MAN with safety violations on February 12 and March 4. The first violations include Christopher Tierney's incident, and other actors who were injured while rehearsing. The Wall Street Journal writes that the second set of violations, "which carry $12,600 in proposed fines, come in response to the agency's investigation of four incidents that resulted in serious injuries to cast members."
March 9-10, 2011: Director Julie Taylor Departs SPIDER-MAN, New Creative Team Announced; Opening Delayed Again
The industry is rocked when producers confirm that Tony winner and visionary Julie Taymor is departing SPIDER-MAN. A press release states that the new plan for the show makes it "impossible for director and co-book writer Julie Taymor to continue on in her day-to-day duties with the production. Philip William McKinley and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa join the creative team to work on new staging and book rewrites. Musical consultant Paul Bogaev and sound designer Peter Hylenski also board the production. On March 10, the Wall Street Journal writes that Taymor's exit deal has yet to be finalized, and that issues surrounding royalties, copywrites, and a non-disclosure have not been agreed upon. Taymor's camp declines to comment on the separation negotiations, though confirms that litigation is not out of the question.
With a new creative team in place and Julie Taymor out, producers confirm that SPIDER-MAN will briefly swing off of Broadway from April 19 - May 11, in order to allow rehearsal time for new changes to be implemented, including script revisions. A new opening night of June 14, 2011 is set, with previews slated to resume on May 12.
March 12-24, 2011: More Creative Team Shake-Ups Shock SPIDER-MAN; Legal Rights in Question
In a whirlwind twelve days, SPIDER-MAN is shaken with multiple changes. Legal discussions on Taymor's payout, royalties, and rights begin after she's forced out of the production, reports emerge that book co-writer Glen Berger may also depart, and Chase Brock replaces Daniel Ezralow as SPIDER-MAN's choreographer.
March 22-April 3, 2011: T.V. Carpio Sustains Whiplash, Takes Medical Leave from Show
On March 22, SPIDER-MAN's 'Arachne,' T.V. Carpio, is sidelined from the production after suffering 'whiplash.' The actress returns to rehearsals for the revamped show over two weeks later on April 3.
March 25, 2011: New SPIDER-MAN Script Introduced
After months of rework, BWW confirms that SPIDER-MAN's leads read through the revamped script for the first time, are introduced to new choreographer Chase Brock, and that The Geek Chorus has been cut from the production.
April 17, 2011: SPIDER-MAN Performs Last Pre-Hiatus Performance
Following its matinee performance on April 17, SPIDER-MAN takes a three-week hiatus for additional rehearsals before unveiling the new version of the mega-musical on May 12.
May 12, 2011: Revamped SPIDER-MAN Begins Performances; Christopher Tierney Back in Cast
After its historic hiatus, SPIDER-MAN is back on Broadway like never before. With a revamped script, songs, aerial stunts, and staging, the beleagured production returns to the Foxwoods with a new creative team - with infamously injured actor Christopher Tierney back in the cast.
June 2, 2011: Reports Emerge that Taymor in Financial Dispute with SPIDER-MAN Producers
The Daily Beast writes that former director and book co-writer Julie Taymor has yet to receive any payments owed for her previous participation with the production. Says Laura Penn, executive director of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society that represents Taymor, "Julie was paid $125,000 five years ago. For nine years of work on this project that is all she has been paid...It's startling." The report also notes that the case could head to court.
June 14, 2011: SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK '2.0' Opens on Broadway
After 183 previews, onstage and offstage drama, and the critics descending long before the opening, SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK officially opens on Broadway. With many creative changes now in stone, the show officially features "creative consultation by Philip William McKinley, original direction by Tony Award-winner Julie Taymor, music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge, and book co-written by Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa."
THE OPENING NIGHT
On June 14, 2011, actors, players within the theater industry, and the scrutinized creative team arrived at the Foxwoods Theatre for one of Broadway's most anticipated events in years: SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK's official opening night.
On the red carpet, Taymor, infamously ousted from the show prior to its April-May shutdown, was among those to walk the red carpet.
"I am very excited. It's opening night!" She told the Associated Press at the time. "I am delighted to be here."
The opening put an official end to SPIDER-MAN's record-breaking preview count at 183. Between the njuries, delays, and more, many early reviews of the show were published in February - much to the team's dismay.
"Everyone in this production has waited a very long time to get to this point, and it is incredibly disrespectful that certain members of the media won't wait a few more hours to post their reviews," a statement released on opening night read. "We trust that no other outlets will stoop so low."
Stars from Broadway's past and present - as well as a former president - were among those on the red carpet. Scroll down for a look back!
On the red carpet
President Bill Clinton
Bono and The Edge
After Spidey swung through the Foxwoods on June 14, the original creative team - Bono, Taymor, The Edge, and Philip William McKinley - reunited on stage to join the show's cast members for the opening night curtain call. Check out photos below!
Julie Taymor, Bono
With the curtain down on opening night, SPIDER-MAN's cast and crew headed out to the much-deserved after party, seemingly stopping the rumors, injuries, and criticism that had plagued the production for years.
With first official performance behind them, the cast and crew would have a blockbuster three-year run ahead of them - and the requirement to sell out for years in order to recoup looming.
THE THREE-YEAR RUN
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.
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 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