The Playgoer: Spidey Updates

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spidey Updates

Riedel reveals that Neil Jordan of all people was the original book-writer for Spider-Man before he bailed, and adds this latest (and, of course, highly biased) gossip:

Taymor's pretentious and baffling script is being completely overhauled. "They're ripping chunks and chunks out of it," says a source. Whole scenes are being jettisoned, Arachne's being downgraded to a flying special effect and more aerial sequences are being added. McKinley's going to turn the show into a shorter, special-effects-driven family spectacle more suited to the world of Steve Wynn than Steve Sondheim. By the time "Spider-Man" reopens in June, we're going to be calling it "Circus, Circus."

On another front, Taymor, I'm told, is refusing to exit gracefully.Her friends and advisers are urging her to accept a lucrative settlement and run away to Mexico, where she has a gorgeous villa that she built with money from "The Lion King." She's got so much money, she could produce her version of "Spider-Man" at the local teatro amateur. But she's having none of it and is said to be hellbent on vengeance.

Arachne may be losing a lot of time onstage, but off stage, she's still wreaking havoc.
I can hardly blame McKinley.  Seems to me, if you're tasked with doing a Spider-Man musical it's a no-brainer that it's got to be a wham-bang 90 minutes of flyin' and rockin'.  As Jordan is quoted: "These comic-book stories are really quite simple and should make for a fun musical."

Meanwhile, the purging of Taymor's influence on the show continues with the replacement of her choreographer. I imagine, though, that the kind of "overhaul" Riedel is describing is going to be very limited by a) whatever legal agreements the producers come to with Taymor over her intellectual property rights, and b) the physical production she has put into place. Unless they can actually convince her loyal set designer, George Tsypin, to come back to work, they're going to either have to work within his existing designs or hire a George Tsypin-imitator to supplement his very distinctive style.

And even if the producers can make major design changes to the physical production, it will cost them a lot of extra cash way beyond the $70 million already flushed down the spider-hole, as it were. 

This is important because even though the design is not one of the perceived problems with the show, new librettist Roberto Aguirre Sarcasa is going to be severely hindered in his ability to create new scenes if he has to work within the already existing set, not to mention the lighting plot and the equally idiosyncratic Eiko Ishioka costumes. (I supposed Don Holder's lighting plot might be the easiest design element to tweak, but he--like Tsypin, a longtime collaborator of Taymor's--probably won't be tweaking it.)

The only thing that can be cheaply replaced is dialogue. But it is also cheap to cut and I bet the "overhaul" will mostly consist of that.

1 comment:

Playgoer said...

To be fair to original choreographer, Daniel Ezralow,issued a statement:
"As far as I know I am the choreographer and aerial choreographer of Spider-Man. The producers have not addressed any change in my status officially, and they are happily using my choreography on the ground and in the air every night at the Foxwoods Theatre."

Good luck with that, man.