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Safety inspectors to examine more Spider-Man flying sequences

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (by Annie Leibovitz)

State safety inspectors return today to New York City’s Foxwoods Theatre to continue an assessment of the complicated flying sequences for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the $60-million musical that’s been plagued by setbacks.

According to The New York Times, inspectors were shown just 13 of the show’s 27 aerial sequences during their visit two weeks ago, leading to another delay that moves previews from Nov. 14 to Nov. 28 and the opening from Dec. 21 to Jan. 11. Inspectors must sign off on all of the sequences before they can be used in public performances.

The Julie Taymor-directed musical will be the most expensive in Broadway history — it will cost about $1 million a week to produce — and the most technically complex, with aerial maneuvers that send actors out above the audience and catapult them across the stage. Two actors have been injured during rehearsals of the flying techniques, triggering separate investigations by the New York State Department of Labor and Actors’ Equity.

As we reported on Tuesday, the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is so physically demanding that producers are considering a second cast member to fill in for star Reeve Carney for as many as two performances a week.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which features a score by Bono and the Edge, also stars Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson and Patrick Page as Green Goblin.


The Spider-Man musical’s very own clone saga?

Matthew James Thomas

Producers of the frequently delayed Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark plan to select a second actor to play Peter Parker because of the physical demands of the role.

The New York Times reports that cast member Matthew James Thomas, best known for the British musical drama Britannia High, is being considered to fill in for star Reeve Carney for as many as two performances a week after the show opens in January.

The $60-million production isn’t just the most expensive show in Broadway history, but also the most technically complex, with two dozen aerial maneuvers that send actors out above the audience and catapult them across the stage. Two performers, at least one of whom doubles as Spider-Man, have been injured during rehearsals, triggering separate investigations by the New York State Department of Labor and Actors’ Equity.

Producers earlier this month were unable to demonstrate all of the flying stunts during a routine safety inspection, forcing another delay that moves previews from Nov. 14 to Nov. 28 and the opening from Dec. 21 to Jan. 11.

Directed by Julie Taymor and featuring a score by Bono and the Edge, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark also stars Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson and Patrick Page as Green Goblin.

Director of Spider-Man musical addresses delays

Julie Taymor

The director of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is defending the troubled production, whose opening has been postponed yet again, this time because a safety inspection could not be completed.

“There are no changes coming to the actual show,” Julie Taymor told Showbiz411′s Roger Friedman, a longtime friend. “All the changes have to do with technical things. The flying, of course. But also all the wires, and the changes between scenes. We may need a little bit of an underscore to cover a move, or a small transition that needs to be smoothed. These are the things that you would work out on the road. We’re doing them here.”

Those “technical things” involve some two dozen aerial maneuvers that have come under scrutiny following recent injuries to two performers, most notably an actor who broke both wrists in a failed stunt. Inspectors with the New York State Department of Labor couldn’t sign off on the production this week because producers were unable to present them with all of the flying sequences.

As The New York Times reports, the latest delays move previews from Nov. 14 to Nov. 28 and the opening from Dec. 21 to “the box office doldrums of January,” which means the $60-million musical — Taymor says $55 million — misses both Thanksgiving week and Christmas. The director, however, calls the Jan. 11 opening “the perfect date.”

The musical, which is destined to the most expensive and most technically complex show is Broadway history, initially was scheduled to begin performances in February. However, “cash-flow obstacles” in August 2009 triggered delays that eventually led to the loss of original co-stars Evan Rachel Wood (Mary Jane) and Alan Cumming (Green Goblin).

Opening of Spider-Man musical delayed again

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

The delay-plagued Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will open in January instead of Dec. 21 because more work is needed on the $60-million musical, The New York Times reports.

The news comes a day after inspectors from the New York State Department of Labor visited the Foxwoods Theatre in Manhattan to examine the flying and safety devices for the production, the most expensive and most technically complex show in Broadway history. According to a department spokesman, the producers were unable to present all of the two dozen aerial maneuvers for the inspectors, requiring them to return before performances an begin. Previews had been set to start on Nov. 14.

Although the inspection had been scheduled for months, it occurred just two weeks after a performer broke two wrists during a failed aerial stunt, bringing to light concerns about the show’s safety. The Times reports that the Department of Labor and Actors’ Equity have opened investigations into the maneuver, which reportedly has injured two actors.

Spider-Man initially was scheduled to begin performances in February, but “cash-flow obstacles” in August 2009 triggered delays that eventually led to the loss of original co-stars Evan Rachel Ward (Mary Jane) and Alan Cumming (Green Goblin). The budget has ballooned from $35 million to $50 million to what’s now reported to be between $60 million and $65 million.

Directed by Julie Taymor and featuring a score by Bono and the Edge, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark stars Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano and Patrick Page.


State inspectors review flying safety of Spider-Man musical

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Inspectors from the New York State Department of Labor are visiting the Foxwood Theatre in Manhattan today to examine the flying and safety devices for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Although the inspection has been planned for months, it comes just two weeks after a performer was injured during a rehearsal of one of the show’s complex aerial stunts, breaking both wrists when he was catapulted onto the lip of the stage.

Spider-Man won’t be permitted to begin previews on Nov. 14 until state inspectors approve the show’s special effects. Findings are usually issued a few days after the inspection. “The flying in this musical is unprecedented for Broadway,” Department of Labor spokesman Leo Rosales told The New York Times, “and we’re going to urge the producers to make sure everything is as safe as possible.”

Directed by Julie Taymor and featuring music by Bono and the Edge, the $60-million Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will be the most expensive, and most likely the most technically complex, show in Broadway history. It stars Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano and Patrick Page.

Spider-Man musical set to open Dec. 21

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

The much-delayed and problem-plagued Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Broadway musical now has an opening date — Dec. 21. Preview performances begin Nov. 14.

The $52 million production, which was supposed to open this past spring, will run in the newly renamed Foxwoods Theatre. The cast includes Reeve Carney as Peter Parker, Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson and Patrick Page as the Green Goblin. Rehearsals begin Aug. 16.

The musical is directed by Julie Taymor, who brought the Lion King to Broadway. Featuring a score by Bono and the Edge, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark could be the most expensive musical in Broadway history, with weekly production costs of more than $1 million — hundreds of thousands of dollars more than elaborate shows like Mary Poppins and West Side Story.

Back on track, Spider-Man musical set to open this fall

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Although the Spider-Man film franchise has hit a snag, it looks like the wall-crawler’s $52-million musical may at last be back on track — if still behind schedule.

The New York Post reports that Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the most expensive show in Broadway history, is set to open this fall, months past its original date of March.

The ambitious musical, directed by The Lion King‘s Julie Taymor and scored by Bono and the Edge, was derailed in August by “cash-flow obstacles” that led producers to halt production while they sought more money for a budget that had ballooned from $35 million. In November, Bono’s longtime business partner Michael Cohl was brought onboard to put the show back on track.

According to the Post’s Michael Riedel, Disney is providing “a chunk” of the financing.

Spider-Man 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 to sell out for every show for four years just to break even.

Relative newcomer Reeve Carney has been cast in the lead, while Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming will play Mary Jane and Green Goblin.



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