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Already the most expensive production in Broadway history, when Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark closes on Jan. 4, it also will have racked up historic losses that The New York Times pegs as high as $60 million. That’s compared to the $5 million to $15 million usually lost by “flops,” which, granted, typically cost far, far less than the $75 million musical.
Several investors tell the newspaper they’ve not been repaid any of the money they’ve put into the show, and producer Michael Cohl concedes some of them may lose all of their investments unless Spider-Man is profitable in Las Vegas, where it’s expected to re-open in 2015.
After a tumultuous three years on Broadway marked by cast injuries, public feuds and, lately, dwindling ticket sales, the $75 million musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will close in January, with plans to reopen in 2015 in Las Vegas.
Although the show has been popular, routinely grossing $1 million or a week in ticket sales (at least until recently), it’s the most expensive musical in Broadway history, costing $1.2 million a week to produce. Spider-Man pulled in just $742,595 last week, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that it’s been running below the break-even point for some time now. The production has grossed $703 million since performances began in November 2010, but because even sold-out performances barely cover running expenses, investors have seen little return.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, the Broadway musical that was plagued by accidents in the early months of its run, has claimed another victim.
The New York Times reports that dancer Daniel Curry was seriously injured during Thursday night’s performance when his leg was pinned in an automated trap door during the second act. Last night’s show was canceled, but tonight’s will continue as scheduled.
“Following last night’s accident at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Daniel Curry remains in the hospital in stable condition having sustained an injury to his foot,” a spokesman for the production said in a statement. “Tonight’s performance will go on as scheduled. The technical elements of the show are all in good working order, and we can confirm that equipment malfunction was not a factor in the incident. Our thoughts are with Daniel and his family.”
The first photo has surfaced of Edward Watts as a rather old-school Man of Steel in the Encores! revival of It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman, which opens tonight for a five day run at New York City Center. (Cue complaints about DC Comics’ New 52 redesign.)
Yes, long before Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark wreaked havoc on cast members and production budgets, or even ads for the aborted Captain America musical puzzled comics readers in the mid-1980s, Superman soared to Broadway in 1966 in a show directed by none other than Harold Prince. OK, “soared” is a bit of an overstatement, as It’s a Bird … closed after 129 performances (still, it garnered three Tony nominations).
While it’s been revived on a handful of occasions, the best-known version is the abbreviated television adaptation starring Lesley Ann Warren, David Wilson and Loretta Switt that aired in 1975 on ABC. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the stagings, don’t feel bad: Watts wasn’t either.
“I only knew that it existed, actually,” he tells Broadway.com. “Quite frankly, I never really thought I would play Superman. I used to work for a company that would hire out actors to play characters at their company picnics during the summer, but it wasn’t really a show — you just put the costume on and walk around and take pictures with the kids.
Watts is joined by Jenny Power as Lois Lane and Alli Mauzey as Sydney Carlton.
Graphic novels | A musical based on Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home will open the fall season of the Public Lab series of the Public Theater in New York City. Featuring music by four-time Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Tony nominee Lisa Kron, the show is scheduled to run from Oct. 17 through Nov. 4 at the Shiva Theater. [The New York Times, The Public Theater]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez guests on the comiXologist podcast to talk about Love and Rockets and what he has been reading lately. [comiXology]
Creators | Brian Wood and Ming Doyle talk about their new comic Mara, which will debut from Image Comics in December and features a volleyball player with superpowers in a world where sports and warfare are no longer so far apart. While Wood is not really a sports fan, he is fascinated by the portrayal of athletes in popular culture: “‘This is tied into the superhero thing, recognizing parallels between the two,’ Wood says. ‘I think there’s a lot to talk about there and part of me feels I’ll need more than one comic series to do it in. We’ll see.'” [USA Today]
Publishing | May marked the worst month of the year for the direct market since January as sales of comic books and graphic novels fell 11.21 percent versus May 2010. Chart watcher John Jackson Miller chalks up the decline to a combination of retailers ordering more Free Comic Book Day titles than “for-profit” books and publishers’ summer events heating up a little later this year. Marvel led Diamond Comic Distributors’ list of top comics for the month with Fear Itself #2, followed by the first issue of DC’s Flashpoint. Avatar topped the graphic novel chart with Crossed 3D, Vol. 1. [The Comichron]
Legal | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has joined a coalition that includes booksellers, media companies and the ACLU of Utah in seeking to permanently stop enforcement of a 2005 Utah statute that would regulate Internet speech that some consider “harmful to minors,” including works of art, graphic novels, information about sexual health and the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. The law has not gone into effect because Utah consented to a temporary injunction until the case can be decided. [press release]