Broadway Spidey’s dark has gotten turned on

spideymusical Broadway Spideys dark has gotten turned on
According to the NY Post, the immensely complicated and expensive — $45 million — Spider-Man Broadway musical, has shut down production because it ran out of money. Directed by Julie Taymor with music by Bono and The Edge, the musical — entitled SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK — promised to be a spectacle like nothing ever launched on Broadway. Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming had been cast, and the show was set to begin in February, 2010. But…

Last week, production crews at both the Hilton Theatre and the scene shop where the show was being built were put on “hiatus” because the producers ran out of money. Assistants in the scene shop “ran to the bank to cash their checks because they weren’t sure they’d clear,” a source says.Now comes word that the actors have been released from their contracts, with no incentive (i.e., money) to hang around waiting for the production to get back on track.

Meanwhile, ticket agents are desperately trying to get refunds for deposits from theater parties that booked early previews.

Author Michael Riedel blames inexperienced producers — Sony, Marvel and lawyer David Garfinkle — and Taymor’s grand but hard-to-pull-off vision for a Cirque du Soleil-like extravaganza. Although some still think she show will open February 25th as promised, the financial tale is grim: the show would take five years of sold out houses every time to just break even.

Perhaps more to the point, there is a letter in the comments from one J. Jonah Jameson:

So Spider-Man, a well-known criminal mastermind, makes off with $45 million dollars and all you want to do is blame the producer of a stage show?!? Wake up and arrest this web-slinging menace before he strikes again!!! Oh, and Bono, how about a front page interview with the Bugle about how Spider-Man pulled off this heist??

Comments

  1. I had a feeling this thing would never get off the ground.

  2. http://spidermanonbroadway.marvel.com/

    Curiously, at the B&N event in NYC on Tuesday, Joe Quesada adeptly and diplomatically side-stepped a question about the musical.

    Tickets have not gone on sale to the general public (10/31/09), only to American Express card holders, and possibly some groups.

    The best strategy might be to move it to Las Vegas, hire relative unknowns for the roles (since they’ll have to perform more than once a day?), and sell it on spectacle and music (just like The Lion King). Supplement the box office with merchandise and behind-the-scenes tours, and possibly some Marvel licensed slot machines and casino chips. (Hey, if Star Wars and Wizard of Oz can, why not Marvel?) If done correctly, a casino hotel could use this to market themselves towards families. Hire a few illustrators to draw caricatures and superhero sketches for the kids and fans.

    This reminds me of David Copperfield’s “Magic Underground” restaurant in Times Square.

  3. Sphinx Magoo says:

    Maybe the producers could get some of the money they need by releasing the Bono/Edge soundtrack in advance. That might help raise some funds to make it opening day.

    Still and all, sounds like a sequel for the story of Bialystock and Bloom.

  4. jacob lyon goddard says:

    i’m a lover of comics and i work professionally in theater

    this show not getting off the ground is a win for both

  5. I wonder how much money Bono and the Edge alone sucked up?

  6. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    Seconded, Sphinx. I hope that, whatever happens, they release the soundtrack. It will either be awesome or hilarious. Possibly both!

  7. ITYM “Michael Riedel.” (He’s sort of a big name; that would be like a theater journalist talking about Jerry Quesada.)

  8. I’m with Jacob. I have a huge theatre circle of friends and none of them were talking about this. If you want over-priced, generic spectacle for mass consumption go see Drek…. I mean Shrek.

  9. The Beat says:

    Personally I am ALWAYS interested in what Julie Taymor does.

    Sorry about the Michael thing….I fixed it. ALWAYS USE CTRL-C!

  10. I applaud the decision!

    Now, just make sure Cirque du Soleil doesn’t get their hands on reviving the project.

  11. It looked like a bomb to me too, but I’d still like to hear what Bono & Edge came up with. :(

  12. It’s sad for the people involved, yes, but I can’t really say I’m surprised. From the beginning, despite the talent of the creators behind it, it always struck me as the stuff of parody — like something that someone would make up to make fun of over-the-top Broadway productions.

  13. Ned Leeds Jr. says:

    Did they ever actually produce the Superman musical or did they just release the album?

  14. Synsidar says:

    Did they ever actually produce the Superman musical or did they just release the album?

    If you’re referring to the 1966 musical It’s a Bird. . .It’s a Plane. . It’s Superman, produced by Harold Prince, the musical closed after 129 performances.

    There’s a new production of the musical planned for the Dallas Theater Center in 2010:

    According to The Dallas Morning News, the Center’s artistic director Kevin Moriarty and comic writer-turned-playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa have acquired the rights to create a new book for the musical, which features music by Charles Strouse and lyrics Lee Adams, the team behind Bye Bye Birdie. The new It’s a Bird is scheduled to run from June 18 through July 25, 2010. Details about casting and the creative team have not been announced.

  15. CBrown says:

    I hadn’t heard about that new production, Synsidar. It’s a Bird . . . really does need a new book. Most of the songs aren’t that great either.

    But what makes me laugh about that article is the phrase ‘comic writer-turned-playwright Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa.’ Actually, he had come out of Yale Drama and was a pretty established playwright by the time he got into comics. Strange days indeed when being a comic book writer carries more weight than being a playwright!

  16. The Lord of the Rings play that debuted in Toronto apparently costs $30 million to make and had to close down after a couple of months because they were not selling out enough shows to offset the huge cost of the show.

    There’s definitely seems to be a limit to what can be done in theatre and musicals to how extravagant they can be and still turn a profit. Seems some companies keep hitting that limit and getting burned.

  17. Speaking of comics and theatre, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean twittered a bit while back that they had a meeting with Cirque du Soleil at their headquaters in Montreal. Here’s two pictures of them there:
    http://twitpic.com/cwdee
    http://twitpic.com/cwdd1
    Hopefully, this is the beginning of a possible Gaiman & McKean Cirque du Soleil show! :)

  18. Darren J Hudak says:

    If the Spider-Man musical is indeed “on hold” someone should tell both Ticketmaster and American Express as American Express presale tickets are still available on thier website.

  19. The whole idea sounded stupid in the first place.

    If you want a musical on Spidey – just dust off your old Reflections of A Super Hero LP.

    ~

    Coat

Trackbacks

  1. […] * Sony has signed James Vanderbilt, who wrote the first draft of “Spiderman 4″ (now twice rewritten), to pen an additional two Spidey screenplays. Writer Michael Fleming speculates that the studio wants to speed up production as the S-man is their most reliable vehicle and a Julie Taymor’s Broadway musical with music by Bono and the Edge, is in fairly deep financial doo-doo long before opening night. (Of course, there is another way Sony could make money — come up with something new…nah.) Vanderbilt, by the way, is also the writer behind Brian Fincher’s cinephile favorite, “Zodiac.” […]

Speak Your Mind

*