Future of troubled Spider-Man musical could be set today

The fate of the financially troubled Spider-Man Broadway musical could be decided today.

According to published reports, producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, whose budget has soared to $52 million, are meeting in Manhattan with director Julie Taymor and other members of the creative team to discuss the cash-flow problems that stalled production for nearly a month and cast doubt on the future of the production.

The musical had been set to preview in late February at a renovated Hilton Theatre, and then open sometime in March. But Patrick Healy of The New York Times writes that Taymor is expected to say rehearsals for the technically complex show won't be able to begin before January, which could push the opening past April 29 -- the cutoff date for Tony Award nominations.

Perhaps of more pressing concern is the $24 million needed to cover a proposed budget that ballooned to $52 million from an estimated $35 million, in part due to theater renovations and restorations. According to the Los Angeles Times, Spider-Man will cost about $1 million a week to produce -- "hundreds of thousands dollars more than what some elaborate shows such as Mary Poppins or West Side Story cost -- and require the 1,700-seat theater to sell out for every show for four years just to break even.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which boasts a musical score by Bono and the Edge, has cast Evan Rachel Wood as Mary Jane, Alan Cumming as Green Goblin and, apparently, relative newcomer Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. (Carney, who will appear in Taymor's big-screen adaptation of The Tempest, long had been rumored for the role of Spider-Man but never confirmed.)

However, as the LA Times notes, with production delays the musical risks losing the cast to other projects. Cumming, for instance, was just added to the cast of Burlesque, which begins filming next week.

NOTE: A post detailing the announcements made after the meeting can be found here.

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