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Spiderman to Cast its Web in June 2010? in New York Hilton

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Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
'SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off the Dark" seems to be back on track. I'm hearing that the $45 million musical, which suspended production this fall when the money ran out, will begin previews in June at the Hilton Theatre and open in July.

The show's blowing off the April cutoff date for the Tonys. But the producers believe their audience -- tourists and teenage boys -- don't pay much attention to the awards, which, as we all know, is a tarnished, conflict-riddled award run by those two useless and bloated organizations, the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing.

Bono, who's written the score, brought in Michael Cohl, who organizes U2's concert tours, to sort out the mess caused by the show's lead producer, David Garfinkle.

Bono tried to push out Garfinkle, but the amateur impresario still controls the stage rights, sources say.

So they're still stuck with him.

Updated On: 11/6/09 at 09:16 PM
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Biggest Flop in Musical Theatre History - written all over it.

This could really damage a lot of peoples careers!
MamasDoin'Fine Profile PhotoMamasDoin'Fine Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Thats if it happens, AG2! lol

Heres a great article from The Los Angeles Times yesterday.

Sources close to the production say the musical's producers need to raise
as much as $24 million to cover a $52-million budget.

By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
November 6, 2009

As this Spider-Man tale opens, the audience sees New York City "on fire and
in ruins" as "a section of the Brooklyn Bridge ascends with Mary Jane bound
and dangling helplessly from the bridge." Soon thereafter, a new villainess
called Arachne flies into the picture spinning her own deadly trap, and as
Spider-Man battles all kinds of criminals he's swinging right over the

It sounds like the 3-D opening for the next "Spider-Man" sequel, and even
though this superhero story is filled with Hollywood-style special effects,
it is instead a glimpse from a confidential script of a planned "Spider-Man"
musical -- the priciest undertaking, and among the most troubled
productions, in Broadway history.

Theater producers are always looking for the next movie-inspired musical
blockbuster, and the pedigree of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" couldn't be
more stellar: Sony's three Peter Parker movies have grossed nearly $2.5
billion worldwide, musical songwriters Bono and the Edge have shipped more than
50 million U2 records domestically, and director Julie Taymor's "The Lion
King" has earned $3.6 billion globally.

But rather than develop into a surefire hit, "Spider-Man" the musical
instead has turned into a tangled web of production delays, unpaid bills and
costly theater renovations that even Peter Parker's alter ego would struggle to
escape, according to interviews with half a dozen people close to the show
who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
discuss the show and its finances. Given its immodest ambition to "reinvent
Broadway," the musical's budget has soared to $52 million, counting theater
renovations, according to one person familiar with its finances -- more than
double the cost of 2006's "Lord of the Rings" musical, one of the most expensive
musicals ever.

Like any compelling superhero story, "Spider-Man's" real-life final act is
a cliffhanger.

Despite all the talent in its corner, it's still far from certain when --
or even if -- the elaborate musical will open after six years of development,
as it has struggled to find a backer to close the budget shortfall. If the
show doesn't premiere by the end of April, it not only will miss Tony Award
eligibility but also face the expiration of the musical's license from
Marvel Entertainment, whose comic-book division created the enduring superhero in
1962. Bono and Edge seem bewildered by the show's odyssey. "But who cares?"
Bono said. "The visuals and the music are amazing, and that's what will

While many factors have contributed to the show's holdup, the musical has
been derailed by some of the most complicated staging in Broadway history, as
the show's creators try to replicate the superhero's skyscraper-swinging
movie maneuvers inside a theater.

Three people close to the production say the musical needs to raise as much
as $24 million to cover its proposed budget of about $52 million -- $42
million for the show, $6 million for theater renovations and $4 million for
theater restorations. At the same time, "Spider-Man's" fixed weekly running
costs total around $1 million -- hundreds of thousands dollars more than what
some elaborate shows such as "Mary Poppins" or "West Side Story" cost to
stage every week. Part of "Spider-Man's" expense stems from its aerial and
scenic effects: More than 40 stage hands are needed to operate the musical's
backstage rigging, said a person who's seen the show's budget.

Those expenses mean "Spider-Man" would have to sell out every show for as
many as four years (a feat only a handful of Broadway shows ever manage)
simply to break even, according to several people familiar with the production
and its finances.

The show has its devoted believers, led by Chicago lawyer David Garfinkle,
who has been involved in the project from the start. It's easy to understand
the enthusiasm: A reading of the musical's script -- along with listening
to an hour of unreleased music by Bono and the Edge and reviewing a DVD sent
to potential investors of Taymor's staging tests -- reveals why so many
people have worked so long to see this show through.

Tough web to weave

>From the very first page of the "Spider-Man" script, it's evident this is
hardly the kind of musical you could stage in just any theater -- it makes
"The Phantom of the Opera's" crashing chandelier look like a simple summer
stock trick.

Throughout the script -- credited to Taymor and playwright Glen Berger,
stamped "Confidential" on its cover and dated from this summer -- stage
directions call for action sequences that at first glance seem almost impossible to
stage, let alone transfer to another theater for possible touring

The opening bridge scene is followed closely by the arrival of a giant web
woven by Arachne, a temptress who is the musical's central invention. "A
giant loom is revealed -- seven actors swing on vertical silks to form a
tapestry," the stage directions read. At another point, Spider-Man is so busy
battling bank robbers and muggers that he multiplies into five different
crime-fighting superheroes. One of the duplicate spiders swings over the audience,
landing on the balcony.

For all of the theatrical pyrotechnics, the musical's core story is
comparatively old-fashioned, following the basic plot of the first "Spider-Man"
movie while adding some new characters and back stories.

The central romance between high school students Peter Parker and neighbor
Mary Jane Watson remains intact. Parker is still bullied by his classmates
and moonlights as a photographer for a New York newspaper; moreover, he's
torn over his unexpected transformation into a web-slinger. As in the movie,
the play's central villain, Green Goblin, is the genetically mutated form of
scientist Norman Osborn. The biggest departure from the movie is the
musical's femme fatale, Arachne.

A figure cut from Greek mythology and sometimes accompanied by her own
Furies, she stalks and tempts Spider-Man throughout the story as any god does a
mortal. "We're linked by instinct, but you think a spider can wait? She
exterminates deficient mates!" she tells Spider-Man at one point.

The music marks a departure for U2 as well. Famous for their soaring,
sometimes political rock anthems, such as "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Pride (in
the Name of Love)," Bono and Edge have crafted "Spider-Man" songs that are
driven more by choral harmonies than lashing guitars. Because U2 does not play
in the show (the performers are accompanied instead by a band and an
orchestra), the songs are written for different voices (including women) with
non-U2 arrangements.

Bono described his and Edge's compositions as varying from "giant, big pop
songs to noisy rock 'n' roll to ethereal shivers" and said it was "the
easiest job we've ever done when it comes to the pure joy.

"For me it's this wonderful thing of escaping from the first-person
songwriting, to disappear into these outside characters, it's just been a thrill of
a ride," Bono said. "You spend so much time digging up diamonds in your own
music; it's a treat to dig in somebody's else's dirt. To work on these
songs was like a playpen."

Edge said he and his longtime partner were surprised that the rigidity of
the musical format was actually liberating. "The process," he said, "got more
fun, exponentially, as it went on."

A heroic struggle

The musical's path to the stage has been filled with personal tragedy, and
misfortune visited "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" in a most inauspicious
way -- at a 2005 signing ceremony with the Edge cementing the "Spider-Man"

Tony Adams, a longtime colleague of movie producer Blake Edwards and a
partner in theater producer Hello Entertainment, died at age 52 of a stroke as "S
pider-Man" contracts were being signed.

Hello and Garfinkle attempted to fill Adams' shoes, and three people who
have invested or explored investing in the show said Garfinkle needed to (but
ultimately didn't) bring in someone deeply experienced with day-to-day
production to replace Adams and help Taymor create a show that was financially
viable. Garfinkle declined to be interviewed.

Taymor, who also declined to be interviewed, always had grand ambitions for
the show. At the outset, according to one person close to the show, she
wondered if the musical even could be contained in a traditional theater. Just
as Cirque du Soleil erected custom houses for its productions in Las Vegas
(with a $50-million renovation to Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre in the works),
Taymor considered staging "Spider-Man" in a specifically designed new

Instead, the producers picked Broadway's cavernous Hilton Theatre, which
had housed "Young Frankenstein" until it closed on Jan. 4 of this year. The
production started extensive renovations on the theater as soon as "Young
Frankenstein" packed up, but when it later faced a money crunch, the renovations
slowed down. A number of people weren't paid in a timely fashion, according
to a person close to the show.

Some of the lead parts have been cast. Evan Rachel Wood, who was in
Taymor's "Across the Universe," is set to play Mary Jane, with Alan Cumming as
Osborn/Green Goblin and newcomer Reeve Carney, who is in Taymor's 2010 movie,
"The Tempest," as Parker/Spider-Man. But the musical may lose them to other
movies, television shows and theater productions if "Spider-Man" doesn't open

"Mentally, you go from thinking, 'I'm going to be doing this for a year' to
'Oh, maybe that's not going to happen after all,' " Cumming said.

The slick promotional DVD sent to woo investors showcases some of Taymor's
staging, aerial and web-shooting tests along with the musical's scenic (by
"The Little Mermaid's" George Tsypin) and costume design ("Bram Stoker's
Dracula" Oscar-winning costume designer Eiko Ishioka). If the creative team can
create a format to "support the flying and fighting and stickability of
Spider-Man," the DVD promises future investors, the show will "redefine

That's assuming the musical can find its missing millions; there's one plan
afoot to raise as much as $10 million by selling the income from 100 seats
added to the Hilton auditorium, according to a person apprised of the idea.

No matter how appealing the "Spider-Man" musical might look on paper, it's
unclear who its target ticket-buyers might be -- teenage boys and girls, the
box-office drivers for the superhero movies, are hardly Broadway's
lifeblood. Though the hits from movie-adapted musicals can be home runs, the margin
for error is thin: For every "Hairspray" triumph, there's a "Shrek: The
Musical" washout.

One interested party believes the money will fall into place before the end
of the year: Edge, for all the setbacks, remains secure.

As the guitarist says: 'it will happen'
Updated On: 11/7/09 at 07:34 AM
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Broadway Legend
The New York Times
Nov 5th

Meeting to Weigh Future of "Spider-Man"
By Patrick Healy
New York Times, November 5

The producers of the multimillion-dollar Broadway musical ‚??Spider-man, Turn
Off the Dark‚?? have scheduled a meeting in Manhattan on Friday with the
director Julie Taymor and other members of the creative team to discuss the show‚??s future, two executives involved in the project said Thursday. They said
that the producers would update the creative team on the project‚??s cash-flow
problems, and that Ms. Taymor would say that it would be difficult to begin
rehearsals before January. Even if the musical‚??s financial difficulties are
solved in time for rehearsals to begin this winter, the show is so
technically complex ‚?? Spider-man‚??s acrobatics and possible mid-air flight for
instance ‚?? that Ms. Taymor and the producers may not be prepared to open the show
by April 29, the cutoff date for Tony Award nominations, said the
executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
comment publicly about the production. If the show is not ready to be
considered for the Tonys this season, the reasoning goes, the production team and
cast would be better off waiting to open later ‚?? assuming the producers aren‚??
t faced with a huge financial penalty for delaying use of the Hilton
Theater, which they have already ripped up to accommodate Ms. Taymor‚??s vision for
the musical. The show is still scheduled to begin previews on Feb. 25 and
open in March, but several people involved in the production said those dates
would change.

re: Spiderman to Cast its Web in June 2010? in New York Hilton
Updated On: 11/7/09 at 04:59 PM
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
The New York Times
Today, Nov 7th

"Spider-Man‚?? Is Given a New Lead Producer
By Patrick Healy

A rock concert promoter with ties to the Rolling Stones and U2 said on
Friday that he was taking over as the lead producer of the coming Broadway
musical ‚??Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark,‚?? and that the troubled
multimillion-dollar show would open sometime in 2010.

The producer, Michael Cohl, also confirmed that a relatively unknown actor
named Reeve Carney had been cast in the lead role of Peter Parker and his
alter ego, Spider-Man.

Mr. Cohl has never been lead producer of a major Broadway show before,
though he has been a co-producer of ‚??Spamalot.‚?? Still, he is widely regarded in
the entertainment community as a man with deep pockets, a Rolodex packed
with investors and a knack for presenting entertainment spectacles.

In a telephone interview Mr. Cohl said that he had previously been only an
investor in ‚??Spider-Man,‚?? and was taking command of the financially
troubled project at the behest of U2‚??s Bono and the Edge, who together wrote the
music and lyrics for the show.

‚??I was on my honeymoon in Spain in late August and they called and said, ‚??C
‚??mon, think about it,‚?? ‚?? said Mr. Cohl, who spoke after meeting in Times
Square on Friday with other producers and the creative team for the show.

Production work on ‚??Spider-Man‚?? has been delayed off and on since August.
The previous lead producer, David Garfinkle, could not raise money for the
show, which executives with the production have said would ultimately cost
more than $50 million ‚?? by far the most expensive in Broadway history. Mr.
Garfinkle is remaining on board as a producer, according to a statement from
the producers.
‚??Spider-Man‚?? is technically still scheduled to begin previews on Feb. 25,
2010. Mr. Cohl declined to say if that date would hold or if the show‚??s
opening would be by April 29, in time to compete for this year‚??s Tony Awards.

Two other executives involved with the production said on Friday that the
plan was to push the opening of ‚??Spider-Man‚?? into the summer. The show‚??s
director, Julie Taymor, has concluded that rehearsals could not begin before
January, according to these executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorized to discuss the production. Ms. Taymor
declined a request for an interview.

The producers‚?? statement on Friday also said that Jeremiah J. Harris, the
chairman of PRG ‚?? a company that provides technical and design work for
Broadway shows ‚?? was now the second producer of ‚??Spider-Man.‚?? PRG‚??s scene shop
is working on ‚??Spider-Man‚?? and is one of the businesses the show owes money
to, according to the two executives. Mr. Harris did not return telephone
calls or e-mail requests for comment.

Mr. Cohl said he was ‚??very close to having in place the financing that we
need and getting everyone back to work on the musical.‚?? But he would not
confirm the $50 million budget estimate. Mr. Cohl, who made his name promoting
the Rolling Stones‚?? Steel Wheels tour in 1989-90, said his personal
investment in the show would be less than $10 million.

Mr. Cohl, who is a former chairman of Live Nation, the company that owns
the Hilton Theater that ‚??Spider-Man‚?? is set to occupy, said he was not overly
concerned about any cut-off dates for use of the theater or the rights to
Spider-Man from Marvel Comics.

Mr. Cohl also injected home-town confidence, noting that the Yankees were
celebrating their 27th World Series championship in Manhattan on Friday. ‚??
Today we have a team in New York that spent millions of dollars to win a
championship,‚?? Mr. Cohl said. ‚??Sometimes it takes a lot of money to build a
championship team, and that‚??s what we‚??re doing.

re: Spiderman to Cast its Web in June 2010? in New York Hilton
Updated On: 11/7/09 at 05:02 PM
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Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Cheers for that Mama, I read with interest,looks like I am going to miss Spider-man, when I go over in March, what a shame!!!

Any news where Spider-man is going to try out, before its arrival at The Hilton?

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
This is one production that will never be tried out. It will probably get months and months of rehearsals at The Hilton and then go into previews.
Broadway Star
Broadway Star
I believe there is some British interest in this show. Rumour has it...that Matthew J Thomas who was in Britannia High (the gay one, I think!) and more recently Dorian Gray at The Leicester Square Theatre has been cast as the alternate Spiderman.