Monday, August 31, 2009

Can Mickey Save Spidey?

What a difference a month makes! Well, maybe.

At the beginning of August, the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark announced a halt in production, due to a collapse in their financing structure. Tongues wagged - heck, they wagged when the show was announced and haven't really stopped - that this highly anticipated musical was on a fast track to dead-in-the-water.

With today's announcement that Disney was purchasing Marvel Comics for a whopping (though probably a bargain in the long run) $4 billion dollars, one has to wonder how long it will be before it is announced that not only is S-MTOTD back on track, but that Disney Theatricals would be on board. Of course, all of this is speculation on my part, but tickets go on sale to the general public on September 12. I bet we hear something before then.

Tongues will wag even more if this actually turns out to be the case. A lot of people are watching this one like a hawk. From the artistic side, it would be the great Julie Taymor's return to the stage since Disney's The Lion King (we'll forget her actual last effort, The Green Bird, a fast flop), and let's face it, if anyone can make Spider-Man work it would be her. Plus, the Rialto is looking for its next pop sensation-turned-Broadway-composer in U2's Bono and The Edge. Will their unique sound translate to Broadway gold? Will they join Sir Elton John in the winner column, or will they go the way of Paul Simon, last heard from with the flop, The Capeman? And on the business side let's not forget, that if the Mouse House joins this web of intrigue, it will come with built-in haters who are dancing down 46th street as we speak rejoicing in the (apparently premature considering the recent box office) demise of Disney's The Little Mermaid, which follows in the footsteps of another high flyer, Tarzan in the loser column for Disney.

I never understood the hate for Disney on Broadway, but that is another column...

For now, let's see how things play out for poor Peter Parker and Mary Jane. Personally, I hope it is a huge blockbuster that gets tons of teenage boys into a theatre for the first time, who end up loving it and become lifelong playgoers. With or without Disney, that would be real magic.

What do you think? Yes or no to Spider-Man? Leave a comment!

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