Friday, December 20, 2013

Theatre Story of 2013 #2: Spider-Man... Again... and at Last

It looks like Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark will be leaving us in much the same way it came: constant headlines, lawsuits, controversy and an uncertain future.  And that makes it the second biggest Broadway news story of 2013 (#3 HERE).

A constant source of news throughout the year, it might be easier to review the headlines in chronological order.  And it doesn't include everything! (Sorry Alice Cooper and Gene Simmons!)

  • April 10: The Julie Taymor lawsuit is settled.: Producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris of 8 Legged Productions said in a joint statement, "We're happy to put all this behind us. We are now looking forward to spreading Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark in new and exciting ways around the world."  Plaintiff Julie Taymor added, "I'm pleased to have reached an agreement and hope for the continued success of Spider-Man, both on Broadway and beyond."  Co-book collaborator Glen Berger said, "I am very glad the parties have put the claims behind them. I look forward to seeing fruitful work from all those involved."  Uh huh.
  • August 7: Another show is missed.: Due to "technical difficulties" yet another performance is cancelled at the Foxwoods.  At least this time it was before it even started...
  • August 15: Another cast member seriously injured.: Ensemble member/stunt Spider-Man Daniel Curry is seriously injured when a lift and trap door malfunctions, trapping him by the legs.
  • September 15: Super trouper leaves the show.: Original star Reeve Carney plays his final performance.  I give the guy a lot of credit for staying with it the whole time.

  • September 16: The new guy swings in.: After an alleged national search for a new Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Broadway alternate Justin Matthew Sargent takes over the lead role.  His alternate is another Broadway baby, Jason Gotay.

Daniel Curry; Curry performs at a benefit

  • September 16: Another lawsuit is filed.: No surprise here: Daniel Curry sues the production.  The New York Times reports that, according to the September 16 court papers, Curry "sustained fractured legs and a fractured foot, and has had surgeries and amputations as a result."

  • November 5: The tell-all book is published.: Glen Berger's trip through the Broadway spider web is detailed in Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History.  Michael Reidel is rejoicing - he's in it, too! 
  • November 19: Closing notice is posted.: With all the usual self-congratulation and inflated admissions of success, the producers announce that the show will close "some time in January."
  • November 20: Closing date is posted.: Just one day later, the exact departure of Spidey's last flight is announced - January 4, 2014.  At the same time, the show's "bright future" is announced: Las Vegas here they come!

  • December 13: There's trouble on the Vegas Strip, Part I: Vegas mogul Steve Wynn announces that he and show producers are in "serious talks" to bring the show to his hotel.  BUT the show that we know isn't what he wants.  More Vegas spectacle (!), and more "like the movie," please, says he.  Which movie?
  • December 18: There's trouble on the Vegas Strip, Part II: Looks like Spider-Man will bump the already contracted Jon Secada.  Secada is already shopping his show elsewhere, "and is entertaining many offers." Ouch.

Not all the news was bad:

  • May 29: The show celebrates 1,000 performances.

  • November 16: The show gives a special autism-friendly performance.


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