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Spidey Delays Broadway Bow–Again!

Mike Fleming

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has delayed its February 7 opening, yet again. This time, opening night will be March 15 as Julie Taymor and her creative collaborators including U2′s Bono and The Edge try to work more bugs out of the musical’s system. This one’s not going to sit well in places like The New York Times. Critic Charles Isherwood, clearly gritting his teeth, recently ran an article saying the paper would hold its tongue, despite “reviews” written for Bloomberg News by Jeremy Gerard (who paid $292 for his orchestra seat) and another in Newsday by critic Linda Winer. It’s getting to the point now where reviewers will be hard-pressed to hold off any longer. Spider-Man is packing the house in preview performances (Glenn Beck just issued the musical’s first full fledged rave), and the musical might be better off selling tickets in an endless run of previews, without ever having an official opening. That might be the $65 million musical’s best hope of recouping. The postponement comes as The New Yorker Magazine unveils a cover that makes light of the litany of accidents suffered during the aerial portion of the show. Here’s the official word:

New York, NY – Lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris announced tonight that SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark has delayed its opening night (previously set for February 7, 2011) to Tuesday, March 15th to allow for more time to fine-tune aspects

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In Other New Year’s Eve News…

In a tough blow for the brick and mortar bookstores coming out of the holidays and heading into the new year, Borders has acknowledged that it delayed payments to vendors. In a statement released yesterday to PublishersMarketplace.com, Borders claimed restructuring its vendor financing was part of an ongoing potential refinancing of its existing credit facilities. Without such a move, the company faces a liquidity shortfall. The Wall Street Journal reports that the retailer doesn’t know it new funding will materialize and it is unclear whether publishers will be understanding enough to send fresh product. Borders and rival Barnes & Noble have been weathering a worsening storm of customers opting for online shopping and e-books, trading the charm of browsing bookshelves for discounted wares…

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s landing at conservative site Newsmax is causing a bit of a stir. Miller, who also contributes to  the conservative-leaning Fox News, will always be known for controversy over  whether her pre-Iraq invasion reports about possible weapons of mass destruction was used by the Bush Administration build momentum toward the subsequent invasion. She also spent 85 days in jail after refusing to disclose that Scooter Libby, the former aide to vice president Dick Cheney, had disclosed to her that Valerie Plame was in the CIA. Miller recently used her experience on that topic to debunk the Plame pic Fair Game in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, calling the film well acted, but a “gross distortion of a complicated political saga.” Firing back in an essay for Columbia Journalism Review, Liman wrote: “Judith Miller demonstrated in her recent WSJ story about my film, Fair Game, the same cavalier attitude towards the facts that led to her departure from The New York Times in disgrace. And we should never forget that Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame to Miller in June 2003—more than two weeks before Richard Armitage outed Plame to Novak. Somehow Miller neglected to mention that in her op-ed piece. But she also forgot about that before—in her early grand jury testimony—until she was forced to come clean about it in a subsequent grand jury appearance and under oath at Libby’s trial. Miller’s belated testimony helped convict her “source” Libby, but not until she did everything she could, as a forceful proponent of the war in Iraq, to avoid telling the truth to the American public. And so here we go again.” Moviegoers didn’t seem to care much about the controversy, based on ticket sales. The $22 million budget Fair Game grossed less then $10 million domestic, and less than $19 million worldwide…

The producers of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark have officially acknowledged that Natalie Mendoza is leaving her role of Arachne, Read More »

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2nd UPDATE: Spider-Man Back In Previews Wednesday Night

Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: A spokesman for the musical said that preview performances will resume tomorrow night. “Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Actors Equity and the New York State Department of Labor have met with the Spider-Man company today to discuss additional  safety protocols.  It  was agreed that these measures would be enacted immediately. Tomorrow’s matinee has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Tomorrow evening’s, and all subsequent performances will proceed as scheduled.” Inspectors cited “human error” as the explanation for the latest mishap.

UPDATE: New York Post columnist Michael Riedel has now confirmed that Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was shut down today following the fourth injury suffered during preview performances. Actors Equity confirmed that State Department of Labor investigators are once again scrutinizing whether the show can be performed safely.

EARLIER: Another preview of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ended last night with yet another cast member injured. This time, an actor fell into the orchestra pit, and the performance was halted just short of completion. That makes four performers injured during the early preview performances of a musical directed by Julie Taymor with music and lyrics by U2′s Bono and The Edge. Accidents on action-laden feature films sometimes happen–an extra was left disabled and disfigured in an accident on the set of Transformers 3 earlier this year–but how long before Spidey’s creatives think about toning down the sophisticated acrobatics and onstage stunts before … Read More »

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Spidey Gets Broadway Opening Date

Mike Fleming

Despite all the skepticism it would ever get to Broadway because of its prohibitive running costs, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark has been set to begin preview performances on November 14, with opening night set for December 21. Julie Taymor will direct from the book she wrote with Glen Berger, with music and lyrics by U2′s Bono and The Edge. The musical will play the Foxwoods Theatre on West 42nd Street. Reeve Carney plays Peter Parker, Jennifer Damiano plays Mary Jane Watson and Patrick Page plays The Green Goblin. The musical shapes up as one of the costliest ever to hit Broadway, and tickets top out at $140. Carney, a rock musician, plays a lead role in the Taymor-directed The Tempest, a film that will play both the Toronto and Venice festivals.

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