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Another Mishap For Revamped Broadway ‘Spider-Man’

By | Tuesday March 22, 2011 @ 4:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

T.V. Carpio, who replaced Natalie Mendoza in the role of the villain Arachne, is the latest to be injured in a Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark preview performance. Mendoza left the show after being hit in the head by a rope, and Carpio suffered what The New York Times deemed a neck injury in a climactic battle scene with Peter Parker. This one was not a high-flying aerial sequence, at least. The latest in a litany of injuries happened while the show is being overhauled by incoming writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and director Philip William McKinley, in anticipation of a June 14 opening. The show has received state and federal violations after the accidents and was blasted by critics who reviewed despite the $65 million budget production pushing back its opening curtain again and again.

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Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ Gets New Baddie

Mike Fleming

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark has a replacement for Natalie Mendoza, who left the role of Arachne after suffering a concussion. The role went to T.V. Carpio, an actress who has worked for director Julie Taymor in the film Across the Universe and who made her Broadway debut in Rent. She filled in for the injured Mendoza a few times, but her first performance as permanent Arachne happens Tuesday evening. She was already in the original cast, playing the role of Miss Arrow. Alice Lee will take over that role.

The musical, which continues in previews until February 7, just posted the third highest holiday week gross on Broadway, with $1.88 million for eight performances. That fell behind the Taymor-directed The Lion King at $1.99 million, and the perennial top-grosser Wicked, which grossed $2.2 million. With that level of business, maybe Spider-Man will pack them in, whether critics like the $65 million show or not.

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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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Spider-Man: Spinning Web Of Drama, Or Spinning Out Of Control?

Mike Fleming

The saga of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark continues to spin a web of intrigue that has little to do with building positive momentum toward its February opening. The saddest development is that Natalie Mendoza, poised to make her Broadway debut with a showy villain role created especially for the musical, has officially exited. These tough breaks happen occasionally for all kinds of reasons both onstage and onscreen–imagine how Emily Blunt feels now, locking up the Black Widow role in Iron Man 2 and subsequent sequels and spinoffs, only to bow out when Fox enforced an option and dropped her into Gulliver’s Travels, for instance–but losing a lead in a big Broadway show to a concussion suffered during the first preview performance is particularly unfortunate. Besides safety issues that have dominated the headlines, the show’s new crisis is the prospect that reviewers won’t wait for opening night to pan the musical. Bloomberg’s Jeremy Gerard did just that on December 27 after paying $292 for an orchestra seat. Gerard, a seasoned critic and theater writer for New York Newsday and The New York Times among other places, expresses sentiments that don’t flatter the show. While beginning his critical assessment by revealing that Broadway’s most expensive show was “hardly the worst show of all time,” Gerard declared that “It is, however, an unfocused hodge-podge of story-telling, myth making and spectacle that comes up short in every department.” As for the … Read More »

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