Tuesday, November 19, 2013

‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ Is Leaving Broadway

Kory Grow/RollingStone

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic
The controversy-addled Spider-Man musical, which features music by U2's Bono and the Edge, will end its Broadway run in January and move to Las Vegas, according to The Wall Street Journal. Producer Jeremiah Harris claims the show will reopen in 2015 and that Sin City offers more economic possibilities than the Great White Way. Closing in January is a strategic move to take advantage of holiday ticket rushes and cut losses in the short run.

By the time Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark opened in 2011, it had become the most expensive show in Broadway history, costing producers $75 million — a staggering number compared to the typical Broadway musical, which caps off at between $5 and $15 million, according to The New York Times. But before it even opened, it had generated more headlines for the action taking place backstage and over the stage than what was happening onstage. When it wasn't getting attention for multiple disputes with original director and book cowriter Julie Taymor (including her suing the producers, the producers suing her and Bono and the Edge writing new music for a new version of the musical), it was worrying attendees with reports of dangerous staging that had actors falling from the rafters. Six actors were injured over the course of the production, according to WSJ. Then there were the reports of what a financial failure the musical was. In 2011, the Times reported the musical would have to stay open on Broadway five more years to pay off its debts.

Recently, the musical has been earning far less than what it should to "break even." Last week, it grossed close to $750,000, according to WSJ, which is about half of its earning potential despite the theater being 75 percent full. Harris claims the musical "wasn't making any money or losing any money in New York."

With Spider-Man leaving, WSJ reports there are rumors swirling that a musical version of King Kong may take Spidey's place in the biggest theater on Broadway. A start date for that, though, would be difficult to predict since the Spider-Man production had modified the theater so extensively.

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