I generally have the chance to attend a big, splashy, over-the-top Broadway musical — i.e., the ones where tickets start at $100 and climb swiftly upward — about once a lifetime, if that. I find ticket prices like that a little hostile. In fact, now that I think about it, the only show like that I’ve seen, if you rule out a few also-rans, is probably “Miss Saigon,” which I didn’t even like. I thought the helicopter stunt was showoffy, and, well. Give me a night of Eugene O’Neill and I’m happy. I think theater should be all about talking and minimally dressed stages, but your mileage may vary. No judgment. Life is a cabaret, old chum.
So it may be that I’m looking at the ongoing train wreck of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” with unsympathetic eyes. You tell me:
An actor performing in the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” was injured during a performance Monday night, according to the police and several witnesses.
Theatergoers who attended Monday’s performance of “Spider-Man,” a $65 million musical featuring complicated aerial stunts, said that they saw a performer playing the title hero fall about 8 to 10 feet into a pit during the closing minutes of the show, and that some equipment fell into the audience when this occurred. A video of the performance showed a line holding the performer apparently snap.
The story goes on to reveal some remarkable facts. I caught the tail end of a public-radio segment about the problems the show is having getting up to speed, but it sounded far more routine than this — the accident described above is only the latest and most serious in a string of mishaps that have included concussions and some sort of injury suffered by actors in “a sling-shot technique meant to propel them across the stage.” Oh.
The show’s budget is at $65 million. I wonder what they’re paying for insurance.
I know this production — it seems wrong to call it a “play,” somehow — is directed by Julie Taymor, the MacArthur-branded genius of the Disney musicals. Since her branding, her work has been a tetch uneven, at least if you accept the critical consensus that “Across the Universe” was a disorienting p.o.s. Roger Ebert gave it four stars, but just one paragraph of his review gave me a headache:
Julie Taymor, famous as the director of “The Lion King” on Broadway, is a generously inventive choreographer, such as in a basic-training scene where all the drill sergeants look like G.I. Joe; a sequence where inductees in Jockey shorts carry the Statue of Liberty through a Vietnam field, and cross-cutting between dancing to Beatles clone bands at an American high school prom and in a Liverpool dive bar. There are underwater sequences which approach ballet, a stage performance that turns into musical warfare, strawberries that bleed, rooftop concerts and a montage combining crashing waves with the Detroit riots.
A swift recovery to the fallen actor, whose injuries we don’t even know the extent of, yet. Best of luck to this production; the world needs all the art it can take. I’d say “break a leg,” but somehow I think that would be in bad taste.
Tuesday of Christmas week — time to check the list a third time and run around buying last-minute stuff I should have gotten weeks ago. Also, groceries. Apparently there are two other people living in this house, and they expect to be fed from time to time. So I’d best be doing that soon. Any bloggage? Sure.
Via 4dbirds, PolitiFact takes on a meme circulating through the right/left/crazy blogosphere: No, Virginia, the government does not want to regulate your backyard garden. These people will believe anything.
Stop laughing. This isn’t funny. It’s NOT funny when someone shoots himself in his sleep. In a car. On the Ohio Turnpike. Well, the guy is from Detroit; he had his reasons.
MMJeff wanted to draw attention to this story, so consider it drawn. A plan to make homelessness history? Good luck with that. How to address the voluntary homeless, the street kids and other spare-changers who make street navigation in places like San Francisco and Seattle so irritating? Not much mention made of those. The plan is ambitious, however, and I wish its executors well. Like the producers of “Spider-Man.” But we shall see.