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Troubled Spider-Man musical finds a new Mary Jane

Jennifer Damiano

Jennifer Damiano

Jennifer Damiano has been cast as Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, ending a three-month search to replace Evan Rachel Wood in the delay-plagued Broadway musical.

Damiano, 19, was nominated for a 2009 Tony Award for best featured actress in a musical for her role in Next to Normal. She’s also appeared in an episode of Gossip Girl.

She’ll join 26-year-old newcomer Reeve Carney in a $52-million production directed by The Lion King‘s Julie Taymor and scored by U2′s Bono and the Edge. Spider-Man is finally set to open in November after months of delays led to the departures of Wood in March and Alan Cumming in April. There’s been no announcement as to who will replace Cumming as Green Goblin.

Spider-Man, possibly the most expensive musical in Broadway history, will cost about $1 million a week to produce — hundreds of thousands of dollars more than elaborate shows like Mary Poppins and West Side Story — and require the 1,700-seat Hilton Theatre in New York City to sell out for every show for four years just to break even.

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“require the 1,700-seat Hilton Theatre in New York City to sell out for every show for four years just to break even”

I get that this Spiderman musical thing is expensive and unnecessary, and probably quite ill-advised– but every article I’ve seen about this stupid musical ends with this four-years-to-break-even factoid, which… I’m no expert on Broadway plays, but don’t they generate revenue separate and apart from ticket sales? I thought they did. Soundtrack sales, making-of book sales, t-shirt sales…? If Bono and The Edge did the music, one would think they may be able to monetize that somehow– even though I’d have to imagine Messrs. Bono and The Edge cut a pretty sweet deal for themselves.

A 5-second Google search says you can buy Wicked: the Musical perfume. I hope there’s a Spiderman perfume. I want to smell like I got bitten by a radioactive Elizabeth Taylor.

Not to mention the fact that with the renovation, I hear the Hilton is now over 1,900 seats. Plus, what’s the big deal? It just means more of the ticket price is going toward the production instead of the producers’ pockets. How is that a bad thing?

Just saw Next to Normal this past weekend. If you are able to see it, I absolutely recommend seeing it. It was an unbelievable experience and definitely changed me as a person. I know that may seem like a bunch of empty hype, but it is definitely worth your time. Damiano is absolutely fantastic (as is everyone else). GO NOW.

It’s important because what they leave out is that the musical would need to sell out every day for 4 years — at full price. There’s definitely a lot of merchandising revenue to be made, but to recoup for selling out at full price is pretty tough. Can you find 1,700 people to pay $162.50 for a show, 9 times a week, for 4 years?

Additionally, the theatre has been dark for the last 2 years that this insane project has been in development/limbo. There goes even more revenue for the producers…

Julie Taymor’s got enough clout that she’s got the financial backing for this, I’m sure; but those deep pockets better not be expecting much of a return.

(also, last I checked, she had created an entirely new villain to serve as the main antagonist of the piece. Sure, ol’ Gobby will be IN it, but not as the Big Bad. For some reason, 50 years worth of material are not enough to provide Julie Taymor with a suitable foil to our webbed friend…)

Why?

Why does it even matter? Why is Mary Jane even in the books anymore? Spider-man doesn’t seem to mean a thing anymore. The ‘people’ at Marvel spent seven years whining about how Spider-man was married and then told everyone that there would be this big story about a magical Spider-man revealing his idenitity in their big event and obviously didn’t care about doing it as a well written story because all they wanted was ‘to make it so Spider-man was never married’. Wow, that’s the end of all honesty.

They character itself is just as immoral and terrible as it is irrelevant now. No, I’m not talking about Mary Jane, I’m talking about Spider-man and his beloved EIC.

“Can you find 1,700 people to pay $162.50 for a show, 9 times a week, for 4 years?”

(aside from the fact that it’s 8 times a week, not 9) — Wicked has found those people for almost ten years–Wicked, which got pretty middling reviews when it opened. And Lion King has found those people for 13 years! Heck, Lion King has grossed 3.8 billion, and you know what plenty of people were saying before it opened? That doing a stage show version of the movie was a stupid idea. And that was Taymor’s last big project. Maybe lightning doesn’t strike twice, but maybe the success of the show wasn’t just luck…

$162.50 for a show? That is the ticket price for one person? Even a third of that is more than i could ever imagine wanting to pay for any show.

this just proves the musical version of spider man is like a phoenix just when it looked dead it comes back and rises again though wonder how long before the spider man curse strikes again and the musical has something else mess with it ever happening

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