Spider-Man: Turn Off the Injuries

There was a promise that I made to myself that I would refrain from writing about anything that was happening in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark for at least a year.  Then last week happened, and I’m going to have to break that promise.  Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to myself.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has been widely criticized for its delay of performances, canceled previews, and massive budget, but things became much more serious last week when another injury occurred.  On December 20, actor Christopher Tierney fell 30 feet while performing a stunt in the show.  The performance was immediately canceled, as the curtain fell with seven minutes left to go in the second act.  Tierney was immediately taken to the hospital where it was discovered the fall produced a fractured skull, a broken scapula, a broken arm, four broken ribs, a bruised lung, and three fractured vertebrae.

Anyone keeping up with this show knows that this is not the first injury to happen in the show.  Actress Natalie Mendoza, who was playing the character Arachne, suffered a concussion during the first preview performance of the musical.  Since the second preview, the role had been played by her understudy and another actress until Mendoza could return to the show.

Earlier this week it was reported that Mendoza was in talks to leave the show.  Today it was officially announced that she would no longer be apart of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  Though there has been no official statement for her reasoning for leaving the show, it should be noted that a series of injuries in the cast may have at least had an influence on her.  Remember, besides her and Tierney’s accidents, Kevin Aubin broke both of his wrists while performing a stunt from the show for a group of investors.

Here’s hoping there will be no more injuries plaguing the Foxwoods Theare.

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Budget?

In light of the recent never-ending  discussion of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, one fact about the soon to be (maybe by next year) Broadway musical. $60 million. It’s been no secret that the show is costing somewhere in the ballpark of $60 million.

Who in their right state of mind would make a Broadway musical on a movie budget?* Better yet, what show would I mount on Broadway with $60 million? Cue the list:

1) Wicked: One of the highest grossing and most popular musicals of all time is my first choice. The show’s numbers suggest that the production is doing something right, but I feel like the show can be bigger and better. First, the flying monkeys. Love them to death, but they look a little cartoony. I suggest finding actors that don’t mind being in a show for a long time and instead of strapping wings on them, we surgically attach fully functioning wings to them. Also, Glinda damn well better be riding in on a real bubble, the Tin Man will be made out of tin, Elphaba needs to learn how to fly without a cherry picker, and there best be a lion around. Top it all off by gold-plating the chairs in the Gershwin theatre so that the whole place looks like the yellow brick road and it’s a hit.

2) We Will Rock You: Resurrect Freddy Mercury. Enough said.

3) Batman: The Musical: Everyone knows that Batman is a better character for a musical than Spider-Man is. Besides that obvious point, think about it. What could possibly be better than watching Batman chase the Joker around a scale set of Gotham City… while singing? Dear lord, with $60 million you might even be able to get Adam West to put on a costume… Poison Ivy’s. Don’t tell me I’m the only one that longs to see that. Really? Well alright then.

4) Titanic: I might venture to say that this is one of the more misunderstood musicals of the 1990s, but an interesting piece of theatre. Give me $60 million and I can promise you that you’re going to need a theatre big enough to hold a scale replica of the Titanic. Add in an iceberg that crashes down from the ceiling (Thank you Andrew Lloyd Webber), a hydraulic lift that plunges the ship beneath the stage, and a good enough water pump to fill the audience with ice cold water and we’ve got a fun evening for the whole family.

5) The Little Mermaid: Alright, so maybe it wasn’t everyone’s favorite piece of theatre, but for $60 million I’ll just build an aquarium for the kiddies. Once a week I’ll dress the fish up and play the movie over the intercom.

Alright, investors, make me an offer.

*Yeah, we all know that Julie Taymor is the obvious choice, even if she had never touched Spider-Man.**

**Poor bastard.

I’m Ready for My Closeup, Mr. Parker

Alright, so all of you wonderful readers out there might be wondering what happened to the blog. I am sure that there is a perfectly good explanation behind the sudden lack of posts on here. Doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you it.

Anyway, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the most expensive Broadway production to ever be placed upon the Great White Way, has finally released some new photos. This could possibly be a distraction from Julie Taymor’s “catapult of death,” but who cares? Now the Broadway community and comic book nerds all over the country can finally see what $60 million can do.

The photos, seen here, were taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz for Vogue Magazine. Don’t the actors look like they’re having so much fun?

Mamet: Back with a Vengeance

When one door closes, another opens. These words could not ring more truer than tonight, October 12, when another David Mamet show opens on Broadway. Though the star-studded production of Race closed only a few months ago, audiences can again be delighted with Mamet’s funny, heartwarming… dickish… words in A Life in the Theatre.

This limited engagement (Closing January 2) production shows Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight playing two actors (big stretch). The play itself details the relationship of these two men from a “backstage theatre life” perspective.

The production is playing The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

Chris’s Thespian of the Week: Mary Bond Davis

Perhaps best known as the original Motormouth Maybelle in the Broadway musical Hairspray, Mary Bond Davis has had a long career in theatre, television, and film. She has appeared on Broadway in Hairspray, The Women, Marie Christine, Grease, Jelly’s Last Jam, and Mail. Her film roles include New York Minute, The Preacher’s Wife, Hook, and Coming to America.

Ms. Davis can also be heard on many cast recordings and concept albums as well as her many cabaret shows. If anyone feels like splurging on anything, buy the Songs from Ragtime concept album just for the sake of listening to her rendition of “‘Til We Reach That Day”. Of course, you could just buy that song off of iTunes, but that ruins the fun of owning the entire album. Maybe I should be a spokesperson…

Err… Because of her amazing voice and talent, Mary Bond Davis is my Thespian of the Moment.

Broadway Opening: Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Tonight, October 3, a limited engagement revival of the George Bernard Shaw play Mrs. Warren’s Professions opens on Broadway. The play details the life of a Mrs. Warren, who has made a living by running a series of high class brothels. When her daughter, Vivie, discovers this she is horrified. The relationship becomes even more tangled when Vivie discovers that her mother is continuing to run the business.

The cast includes: Cherry Jones as Mrs. Warren, Sally Hawkins as Vivie, Adam Driver, Mark Harelik, Edward Hibbert, and Michael Siberry.

The play runs until November 21.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Everyone, mark your calenders. The greatest musical opening since Starlight Express is about to happen. On November 14, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will begin previews on Broadway at the Foxwoods Theatre.

Julie Taymor (Most famous for directing Disney’s The Lion King) is back in the director’s chair. She also co-wrote the libretto with Glen Berger. But that is not the most interesting part of the creative team. The music and lyrics have been written by two huge names of musical theatre: Bono and The Edge. You read that right.

You might be asking yourself just what exactly this $54 million musical is about. It really is quite simple. Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider. After crying and moaning that he can’t get the girl of his dreams, he realizes that he has superpowers and attempts to use them for good. When the struggle of saving his city becomes too much for the teenage superhero, he continues to cry and moan. Only now he’s trying to turn off the dark… whatever that means.

The musical appears to be much better than that, though. Unlike the past three movies (Simply titled Spider-Man I, II, and III) this musical will actually contain a plethora of villains. Audiences can expect to see the Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter, Lizard, Carnage, Grim Hunter, and the new villain known as Swiss Miss (Insert clever joke about the drink here).

There is no telling just how exactly this musical will turn out. It should be noted that, as stated above, the musical is going into the newly named Foxwoods Theatre. The former name of it was the Hilton Theatre, which had killed more shows than the uttering of the “M” word.

The musical officially opens on December 21. For further information about this glorious piece of theatre, check out their website.

This is Miriam!

Chris’s Thespian of the Moment: Miriam Margolyes

A vast majority of people, unless they have been hiding in a closet for the past one-hundred years, should know of Miriam Margolyes. A vast majority of her work has been as supporting characters on television shows as movies. But Ms. Margolyes is much more than that. With her clever timing, brilliant character voices, and dirty jokes; Miriam is one of the most talented Thespians on Earth.

In film, she can be seen/heard in the 1985 version of Oliver Twist, Babe, Little Shop of Horrors, James and the Giant PeachMulan, Romeo + Juliet, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Her theatre performances include playing Madame Morrible in Wicked both on Broadway and as a part of the original West End Cast as well as being in the most recent West End revival cast of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. She also has performed on tour in her one woman show, Dickens’ Women.

Miriam Margolyes has, and continues to have, a marvelous career in all forms of media. Even so, I think that her essence can be summed up with the following quote: Upon being asked what she studied while at university, she replied, “Oral sex.”

I salute you, Miriam Margolyes.

Via Galactica or What the Hell, Broadway?

Opened: November 28, 1972

Closed: December 2, 1972

Number of Performances: 7

There has been much talk and debate over what is the worst flop in Broadway history. A lot of people point out the musical version of Carrie. It should be noted that though Carrie is a hard musical to watch, swallow, or shoot up; it at least had a plot. The same cannot be said for Via Galactica.

Via Galactica, from what I can gather, is a musical about… something. The basic gist is that there are a group of outcasts that are living on an asteroid. Oh, yeah, and the year is 2972.

On this asteroid, we find a man named Gabriel Finn. Gabriel Finn is a blue (literally) “space sanitation” man that picks up trash in garbage shipped named the Helen of Troy. This ship leads him to the above mentioned asteroid (named Ithica) and beyond that I have no idea what is going on. The songs, and almost the entire show was intended to be sang rather than spoken, leave no clue as to what is happening and I honestly could not care less.

The most interesting thing about the show was what was involved with the production. The show, which played in the Uris (Now Gershwin) Theatre on Broadway, made heavy use of trampolines onstage. Even better than that, laser light shows, random trapeze dances, and a man who was nothing more than a head all make this show interesting enough to see.

Who cares if it’s absolute drivel? Give an trampolines covering a stage as part of a musical, and you’ve got butts in your seats… sometimes.

Interesting Fact: The musical was originally titled Up! Producers felt that that may look awkward with “Uris Theatre” following it on the marquee.

Oliver Richman-Defying Gravity

Nine year old Oliver Richman has become an overnight sensation to anyone that knows or cares about anything Broadway (about seven people). His performance of the song “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked has left more people spellbound than the top ticket price for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. So what’s so special about him?

I was introduced to Oliver when creepy pictures of him kept popping up on the ad-bar for Facebook. These I chose to ignore. When he began making appearances on the news sections of many Broadway websites, I still ignored him. It was not until he began popping up on message boards and people began ripping on him that I decided to check out his video.

It needs to be said that obviously Mr. Richman is talented. He could be out in the world, tipping over old ladies and drinking glue like a normal nine year old, but no. Oliver chose* to show the world his gift of a magical voice, and for that I applaud him. Some other people might not, so here’s hoping that he attends a performing arts school.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what really needs to be discussed is this music video. How has thing won no awards? I was in tears when the old woman** at the beginning of the video expressed her sentiments to the kid. Put this woman on Broadway and give her a Tony***.

Then the singing began. For those of you that are familiar with the song probably know that it is typically sung by a girl with a bad complexion and an unnatural ability to fly****. In this video, none of that happens. Instead, Oliver Richman has to suffer the trials and tribulations of a sunny day on some beach. As he belts through the song, we see him strike the infamous Titanic Jack and Rose pose with someone that can only be considered his sister. Awkward.

But the fun does not end there! Oliver proceeds to move onto many more locations, while clad in a red shirt and sunglasses.  We see him running down a row of miniature columns, looking something like if John Doyle had tried to direct Gladiator*****. The scenes continue as Oliver can be seen twisting, turning, and having a seizure whilst running down a boardwalk, some more beach, and a rather odd looking hill.

The highlight of the entire video occurs right on that rather odd looking hill. Oliver proceeds to tell all of Oz that “No wizard that there is or was is ever gonna bring me down!!!” complete with epic riffs. This is fine when watching Wicked. It’s a bit odd when a nine year old screams it at the hills of California.

All in all, the video is amazing. Watch it, learn it, live it, love it.

6/5 STARS

*Or at least his mother did.

**Mother? Grandmother? Sister with an aging defect?

*** I’ll settle for a Drama Desk Award.

****WITCHCRAFT.