Robot 6

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark loses a lead actress

Natalie Mendoza

The troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark received another blow this morning as word emerged that actress Natalie Mendoza, who suffered a concussion during the show’s problem-filled first preview, is leaving the Broadway musical.

Citing anonymous sources, The New York Times reports that representatives for Mendoza, lawyers and producers of the show “have been hammering out an exit agreement for days” and “fine-tuning the language” to explain the actress’ departure. An official announcement is expected later today.

Mendoza starred as Arachne, a villain created by director Julie Taymor who plays a major role in the revised origin of Spider-Man and later becomes obsessed with the superhero. The newspaper notes that Taymor worked closely with Mendoza to develop the character’s look and mannerisms.

The 30-year-old actress, who was injured on Nov. 28 when a rope struck her in the head while she was standing offstage, hasn’t performed since Dec. 20, when her friend and castmate Christopher Tierney was seriously injured in a fall. According to The Times, she has been on vocal rest, under doctors’ orders. Mendoza’s understudy America Olivo, who filled in for her during her two-week recovery from the concussion, is expected to step into the role of Arachne.

The loss of a lead actress this close to Spider-Man‘s scheduled Feb. 7 opening would be enough of a sting on its own. But it’s particularly embarrassing following nearly a year of delays — the show was to debut in March 2010 at one point — money problems, the departures of the original Mary Jane and Green Goblin, four injuries — two of them major — and mounting criticism.

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14 Comments

My friend really praised America Olivo’s performance (and that’s about all he praised …) so while Natalie Mendoza’s loss is kind of a shame, I think Olivo is a good one to succeed her.

But the show just keeps becoming more and more of a mess. I think it’s almost at the point where it’s not really fun anymore to read about all its problems. I’m really beginning to feel bad for everyone involved.

Is it just me, or does every piece of bad news and lousy review just make you want to see this show even more?

“In the criminal justice system,Broadway-based offenses are considered especially heinous.In NYC, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Spider-Man Victims Unit.These are their stories”

Oh for the love of-CANCEL THE PRODUCTION ALREADY AND PUT IT OUT OF ITS MISERY! The heck with it, we DON’T need a Spider-Man musical. I seriously am seeing the events of “The Producers” unfold…or every attempt to make a movie of “Don Quixote”. In fact, Freakazoid couldn’t have said it any better:
“Well, if you don’t mind me saying so-THAT IS THE STUPIDEST PLAN I HAVE EVER HEARD OF!”

@ Axo

Calm Down. Your quoting a cartoon character. Are you working on the show or something? “The heck with it..”

Julie Taymor’s a badass, I bet tons of people will like this show even if they don’t see live theatre often. The producers obviously love the creation of spider man- fans should think carefully before becoming unsupportive.

I’ve seen enough favourable reviews to think it’s going to be a commercial success.

Well, alright, I’ll give it a chance. But the production crew should take every precaution necessary so that the actual premiere goes off without a hitch. And no, I’m not working on the show. And I know Taymor’s good, I’ve seen Across The Universe.

A friend of mine saw this show a couple of weeks ago (he has a Broadway ticket hook-up) and said it was frikkin amazing. I was pretty shocked to hear this, given I know the history of the Spiderman “musical” and don’t equate Spiderman with a broadway show.

But he said you are fully emersed in the show and it’s stunnig what they’re able to do with the scenery and acrobatic performers.

I’d love to see this show now based on what he said.

It is so fiippin’ CRAZY that somebody who likes the haunted, existential space occupied by a truly tragic (sans music) anti-hero wouldn’t just love to see dudes raised as geldings warbling some soprano Spidey story.

Musical theater is pure and utter death

It’s a Disney disease.

Smart move! Don’t let Taymor kill or maim any more actors!

I’m just worried about what we’re in for in a few years if this production can ever get pulled off without a hitch and proves to be successful… Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark: The Movie, directed by Michael Bay! “Yeah, it’s my first, whattaya call it, foray, into musicals, lots of singing and stuff blowin’ up! Gonna f**in’ rule!”

Practically speaking, it’s extremely unlikely to be a commercial success, in the sense of turning a large enough profit to justify all the effort that’s been put into it. But that’s not really the question at this stage. They’ve already spent the money; if they open, at least they have the chance to reduce their losses. It makes sense to go ahead.

Save for one thing: after all this time, they apparently still haven’t figured out how to stage the thing reliably, consistently and safely. Have they actually had a performance that went smoothly yet?

Look if this was a favourite family pet it would be under the petunias via a quick visit to the vet. No one wants it except those that enjoy train crashes.

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