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‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ announces a new web-slinger

justin matthew sargentThe Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has found a new Peter Parker.

Reeve Carney, who has starred in the title role since the production opened in 2010, gave his final performance Sunday night, after which he introduced his successor Justin Matthew Sargent. Carney, who announced his departure in July, soon will begin production on Showtime’s upcoming drama Penny Dreadful.

The production had held open casting calls for Reeve’s replacement, but settled on Sargent, who has been performing as the alternate lead in Spider-Man since August.

“We looked for our new lead in L.A. and New York,” producers Michael Cohl and Jere Harris said in a joint statement. “During Justin’s rehearsals as the alternate, we realized this is the guy to take over for Reeve. He is one of Broadway’s great rockers.”

Indeed, Sargent previously starred in the Broadway production of Rock of Ages.

Sixth performer injured in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Matthew James Thomas

Another cast member of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was injured Wednesday, the first since the once accident-prone Broadway musical underwent a sweeping overhaul in April.

Newsday reports that Matthew James Thomas, who plays Peter Parker in the Wednesday and Saturday matinees, suffered a head injury backstage at the Foxwoods Theatre near the beginning of the second act. Production stopped for about 10 minutes as Thomas was taken to the hospital for stitches. Star Reeve Carney, who happened to be in the theater at the time of the mishap, stepped into the role for the rest of the performance.

Producers described Thomas’ injury as “minor,” and released a statement saying, “He is fine and will be back in the show for his next scheduled performance on Saturday.”

Thomas, who was named as Carney’s fill-in about a year ago, is the sixth performer to be injured in the $70-million musical. The most recent was Arachne actress T.V. Carpio, who was hurt March 16 during one of the show’s many fight scenes (she replaced Natalie Mendoza, who left after suffering a concussion during the problem-filled first preview). The worst, however, was aerialist Christopher Tierney, who fell about 30 feet in December, breaking four ribs and fracturing three vertebrae. He returned to rehearsals in April.

The latest injury comes just as original director Julie Taymor, who was forced out of Spider-Man in March after five delays and a barrage of scathing reviews, filed a lawsuit against the producers, demanding proper pay and credit.

Comics A.M. | Reeve Carney extends Spider-Man musical contract

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Broadway | Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker and Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has extended his contract with the musical through May. Carney’s original contract was set to expire in November. “I can’t imagine a more wonderful, harder-working company than my mates on Broadway, and I look forward to being with them until shooting begins, and again as soon as we’ve wrapped,” he said. [Wall Street Journal]

Creators | The works of cartoonists Frode Överli, Lise Myhre, Christopher Nielsen and Jason are being featured on postage stamps in Norway, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first comic book to be published in the country, The Katzenjammer Kids. [cats without dogs]

Creators | Firebreather creator and former Wonder Woman writer Phil Hester is profiled in conjunction with a visit to Limited Edition Comics and Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Iowa. [WCF]

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Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark cast performs on Letterman

Reeve Carney on "Late Show with David Letterman"

It was a busy Tuesday for the cast and crew of  Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark that began with an upbeat appearance by the stars on CBS’s Early Show and ended with a subdued performance on the Late Show with David Letterman. In between, Bono was expected to tell producers whether he thinks the troubled $65-million musical is ready for its scheduled March 15 opening.

On The Early Show, stars Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano and T.V. Carpio brushed aside the production’s largely negative reviews, even one saying that Spider-Man ranks among the worst musicals in Broadway history. “Everyone has a right to their opinion,” said Carney, who stars as Peter Parker. “If anything, maybe thanks for — in some ways, we kind of get a kick out of the negativity, just because (of) that whole thing — ‘any press is good press’ is not entirely true, but you have to have a good sense of humor about yourself, as well. We’re just trying to make the best show we can. So it’s one person’s opinion, and I think the audience reaction is so positive every night that that’s kind of what we’re focused on, just trying to please the audience.”

Likewise, Carpio downplayed the show’s injuries, pointing out she received a concussion while performing in Rent. “Not to minimize what has happened in our show,” she said, “but there’s no flying in Rent and these things happened and nobody heard about it.” (That said, Spider-Man producers can’t be pleased by the headline on The Early Show website: “Spider-Man stars rationalize injuries.”)

On David Letterman, it was all about the music, with the trio performing the obviously Bono-penned ballad “Rise Above” (watch the video below). They might’ve been better-served by something a little more pulse-pounding, but what do I know? How about Carney’s Spider-Man jacket, though? I’d buy one of those from the gift shop (which will be stocked with merchandise sporting Greg Horn artwork).

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First look behind the scenes of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

From the "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" video

A video posted today on the Facebook page of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark provides the first peek, costume sketches and stylized photos aside, at what the $60-million musical will actually look like.

Set to the tune of the show’s anthem “Boy Falls From the Sky,” the video features some of the flying sequences — the source of the production’s most recent problems — as well as footage of stars Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano and Patrick Page in rehearsal, and clips of interviews with composers Bono and the Edge. Front and center, though, is director Julie Taymor’s pitch: “We can’t really tell you what this is, but it has rock and roll, it has drama, and it has circus. […] Yes, we have the spectacle, but the spectacle is at the service of a good story.”

If all goes as planned — let’s face it, very little with this production has gone according to plan — Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will begin previews Nov. 28 and open on Jan. 11.

(via The New York Times)

So this is what the Spider-Man musical is going to look like

Carnage (Collin Baja) and Mary Jane (Jennifer Damiano)

Carnage (Collin Baja) and Mary Jane (Jennifer Damiano)

From the pages of Vogue magazine and the lens of photographer Annie Leibovitz come these images from director Julie Taymor and composers Bono and The Edge’s upcoming, long-delayed Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. Personally? I think I’d kill for a comic book Spidey that was this magnificently crazy, let alone a Broadway version that cost tens of millions of dollars to make. What say you?

Scroll down for another pair of jaw-dropping pics and click the link for two additional, vastly less jaw-dropping ones.

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Song from Spider-Man musical to debut on Good Morning America

Early design rendering for Oscorp Labs from "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark"

Reeve Carney, star of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, will premiere a song from the $52-million musical Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

This may mark only the second public performance of a number from the Julie Taymor-directed production: In May, Carney sang the anthem “The Boy Falls From the Sky,” by Bono and the Edge, at the New Dramatists benefit luncheon in New York City. The song includes such lyrics as, “You can fly too high and get too close to the sun/See how a boy falls from the sky.”

The delay-plagued production is set to begin previews on Nov. 14 and open on Dec. 21 at the newly renamed, and renovated, Foxwoods Theatre (née Hilton Theatre) in Manhattan. Spider-Man, which could be the most expensive musical in Broadway history, stars Carney as Peter Parker, Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson and Patrick Page as the Green Goblin.

According to the official synopsis, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark “spins a new take on the mythic tale of Peter Parker, a teenager whose unremarkable life in Queens is turned upside-down — literally — when he’s bitten by a genetically-altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to the ceiling”:

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