Video: Reeve Carney sings Spider-Man musical song

Reeve Carney sings “Boy Falls From The Sky,” one of the Bono/Edge penned songs for the Spider-Man musical this morning on GMA.

Yep, that was about what we expected from the moment we heard about this project
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STARSTRUCK radio

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STARSTRUCK, the eccentric space opera comedy by Elaine Lee and Wm. Michael Kaluta has led a varied multimedia history — while it’s now coming out as a periodical comic from IDW, it started out as a stage play by Lee. Now it’s going back to its roots with a new audio play that will be available on compact disc and broadcast radio. PR below and a copy of Kaluta’s cover (click for larger version) above:

Hot on the heels of IDW Publishing’s successful re-launch, Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta’s science fiction comedy masterpiece comes to the world of audio theatre as The AudioComics Company, in association with Portland Community Radio WMPG, announces that its debut production of Starstruck will be available October 31 on compact disc and pay-per-MP3 download, and will air on selected radio stations in the United States.

The audio adaptation of the original off-Broadway production was adapted for the medium of audio by co-creator Elaine Lee, and directed by AudioComics Company co-founder William Dufris. With Ms. Lee as AudioComics’ guest for the weekend, Starstruck recorded at The Studio in Portland, ME May 7 – 9, and was mastered by Gateway Mastering, whose client list includes The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The recording also employs Dwight Dixon’s re-recorded music from the original 1980’s stage productions, as well as several new compositions. Cast members include noted audio book narrators Tavia Glibert and Simon Vance, and the voice of MTV’s Æon Flux, Denise Poirier.

The basis for the comic book series, Starstruck was first presented off-Broadway in 1980, and again in 1983. In a far-flung and very alternative future, Captain Galatia 9 and the crew of the Harpy are on a mission for the United Federation of Female Freedom Fighters. When the Harpy runs into a living ship inhabited by a team of galactic evildoers, including Galatia’s insidious sister Verloona Ti, the outcome of the battle may well decide the fate of the free universe. Often hilarious, always surprising, Starstruck is a spine-tingling joy-ride to the far side of the spiral arm!

The forthcoming two-disc CD of Starstruck for $22.95, and the pay-per-MP3 download for $12.95 will be available October 31, 2010. Compact discs will be available for pre-order to the public exclusively through www.audiocomicscompany.com beginning September 1, 2010. Compact discs and pay-per-MP3’s will also be available through CD Baby, iTunes, The Spoken Network, and ZBS.

About AudioComics: Under the direction of Lance Roger Axt and William Dufris, The AudioComics Company provides superior audio entertainment with its professional full-cast audio theatre adaptations of licensed and original properties from the world of comic books, graphic novels, and more. Our productions of classic, contemporary and world premiere properties will reach new audiences far beyond readers and comic book fans through the universally popular entertainment medium of multi-track recorded sound and music on CD and in downloadable form, accessible in today’s market with today’s sound.

KCRW to re-broadcast AMERICAN SPLENDOR radio play

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On Friday, KCRW will replay a 1991 radio adaptation of Vince Waldron’s AMERICAN SPLENDOR stage play, starring Dan (Homer Simpson) Castellaneta. The original stage play (which we saw in person) was a wonderful adaptation of the late Harvey Pekar’s work, and this version has a lot of the same charms. The play will be available ONLY on air and by live stream and will not be available for download, so set those tape recorders.

On December 6th, 1991, public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica (89.9 FM; www.KCRW.com) broadcast an original radio production of Harvey Pekar’s “American Splendor.”
 
To honor Pekar’s memory, KCRW will reprise the radio production on Friday, July 16 from 7:30 to 8 pm (pre-empting “Says You,” the regularly scheduled program).
 
Pekar, who died this week at the age of 70, was a cult phenomenon and considered Cleveland’s favorite dark, dysfunctional and curmudgeonly son. “American Splendor” was one of his most popular autobiographical comics, and the one that brought him to the attention of Hollywood.
 
In 1990, “American Splendor” was adapted for stage, written and directed by Vince Waldron, and featured Dan Castellaneta—the voiceover actor now best known as the voice of Homer Simpson—as Harvey Pekar. The Instant Theatre Production opened at Jeff Murray’s Theatre/Theater in Hollywood on September 29, 1990 and closed September 28, 1991.
 
Waldron then adapted the stage production for radio station KCRW, and once again, Castellaneta came to embody Pekar in this original half-hour production. The station’s producers were Jacqueline des Lauriers and Bob Carlson.
 
In 2003, “American Splendor” was made into a film starring Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis, which was later nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

This broadcast will appear on air and via KCRW.com live stream ONLY, and will not be available on demand or via podcast.

Spiegelman dances about comics

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The Boston Globe has a full report on a new comics/dance collaboration, to wit: Art Spiegelman, lit comics mainstay, is teaming with the famed Pilobilus dance troupe for a “multimedia homage to early-20th-century cartoons” called “Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still Moving’,’’ which premieres Thursday at Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center for the Arts. The piece will feature characters based on Happy Hooligan, and Little Lulu and includes an homage to early animator Oskar Fischinger. Pilobilus is known for its abstract, athletic dance, and this piece includes dancers interacting with projected word balloons and other comics elements.

Spiegelman had to get comfortable with the translation of comics to the three-dimensional world, but he explains it in highly quotable ways:

“Animation is so locked in,’’ Spiegelman says. “It’s as if these six dancers had a seventh dancer, and the seventh dancer is an absolute idiot and can’t, like, adjust his movements to them, so they have to keep trying to keep that moron from looking as stupid as he is. And it’s really hard for them, because it’s so precise.’’


The three-night run is sold out, but tickets may be released Thursday and Friday. More info here.

Alan Cumming drops out of Spider-Man musical which will never happen

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EW reports that Alan Cumming, who was slated to play the Green Goblin, has dropped out of the Spider-Man musical due to actually working, namely a regular role on The Good Wife. With potential Mary Jane Evan Rachel Wood also recently exiting, and a slew of delays, restarts, revamps, and some $50 million already spent on development, it is time for even us — its staunchest believers — to admit…the Spidey musical is probably never gonna happen.

With music by Bono and the Edge and direction by Julie Taymor, this was set to be the most expensive and ambitious Broadway musical ever, but it looks like this tangled web is getting too Gordian. The show was originally slated to open this February, but budget and production problems caused a revamp and a new schedule. With a running cost of $1 million a week, the show would have to play to sold out houses for years just to break even. Given the graveyard of ambitious shows on Broadway lately, somehow we suspect that someone somewhere is going to look at this money pit and ask…”Why?”

Jack Kirby’s Julius Caesar the Celestial

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Via the Jack Kirby Museum, the tale of Jack Kirby’s foray at costume design for the stage:

In 1969, Sheldon Feldner contacted Marvel Comics, asking if one of Marvel’s artists would be interested in designing costumes for a production of William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar by the University Theatre Company at Santa Cruz at the newly-built Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz.


Looking at these insane, completely original costumes, it’s apparent how amazing it would have been had Kirby ever been set loose on projects as immense as his vision.

Spidey musical rises again — UPDATED

201001121240Disney, which has been a major player on Broadway since Beauty and the Beast and on with The Lion King, Mary Poppins and many others, has

UPDATE: Well, another source, the NY Times Arts Beat states that Disney WASN’T the white knight here, and Spidey got it together on its own.

Another executive involved with the musical said on Tuesday morning that, contrary to another rumor, the producers have been able to capitalize the show without receiving any money from Disney, which recently acquired Marvel Entertainment, which holds the rights to the “Spider-Man” story. A spokesman for Disney Theatrical Group on Tuesday referred questions about the musical to the production team.


So there you have it. Although it makes all the sense in the world for Disney to help salvage this wreck, they aren’t taking credit if they did it. For now.

stepped in to get Spider-MAn the Musical back on track, Michael Riedel at the New York Post reports.
Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, which one wag dubbed “The Avatar of musicals” due to its ambitious staging demands, has had a rocky road. With superstar director Julie Taymor, and superstar composers Bono and The Edge on board, it seemed like a surefire hit, but monetary mismanagement, and Taymor’s divided attention with her movie career forced the planned February launch to be scuttled as the show became a financial black hole, blowing through some $52 million and needed four years of full houses just to break even.

However, a new producer has helped get things in shape, and now Disney has stepped in to provide financing– they previously worked with Taymor on the groundbreaking Lion King show, and even if the show will have a hard time making money, letting this high profile venue for Disney’s shiny new characters become a legendary Broadway failure would be a bummer all around — so the Mouse had a lot of reason to play white knight this time out.

The show is now slate to open in fall 2010. Casting includes newcomer Reeve Carney as Spidey, Evan Rachel Wood as MJ and Alan Cumming as the Green Goblin. Tickets already purchased for February can be refunded or exchanged.

Swing Dancing Spidey


If this doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.

Spider-Man musical back on track, Carney official for Peter

Last week’s Spider-Man musical showdown seems to have had a successful conclusion, inasmuch as it resulted in positive press releases being sent out. Former Live Nation president Michael Cohl has been brought in to make sure the financially beleaguered production actually makes it to the stage; the inexperienced David Garfinkel, whose missteps are widely believed to be part of the problem, has been demoted to third, after Jeremiah J. Harris.

Most importantly, actor/musician Reeve Carney has been officially cast as Spider-Man; Carney stars in director Julie Taymor’s The Tempest as Prince Ferdinand, and heads his own band, Carney.

While people are saying the show will go on, no one is saying when — Spidey the Musical will miss is previous February start, and probably this year’s Tony Award nomination cut-off, as well.

Can the Spidey musical overcome its greatest foes? UPDATE

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UPDATE: It seems that today is the day of decision, as the NY Times and Post report. Today a meeting is being held to decide the future of the show. Fingers crossed!

John Horn in the LA Times finally has a fully researched–he’s even read the script– story on the sprawling mess that is the Spider-Man musical. The death of a key player, scheduling conflicts, inexperienced producers — you name it. It’s a rogue gallery of woes. The show has a total budget of $52 million and would need $1 million a week just to keep running. The biggest problem with the troubled production — originally slated to open next February but rehearsals haven’t even begun and a lack of funds seems to have stopped all progress — was its incredible ambitions, which would have made it the most spectacular musical ever staged:

The opening bridge scene is followed closely by the arrival of a giant web woven by Arachne, a temptress who is the musical’s central invention. “A giant loom is revealed — seven actors swing on vertical silks to form a tapestry,” the stage directions read. At another point, Spider-Man is so busy battling bank robbers and muggers that he multiplies into five different crime-fighting superheroes. One of the duplicate spiders swings over the audience, landing on the balcony.


Yet some folks remain hopeful that it will get additional funding, among them show composer Bono:

“For me it’s this wonderful thing of escaping from the first-person songwriting, to disappear into these outside characters, it’s just been a thrill of a ride,” Bono said. “You spend so much time digging up diamonds in your own music; it’s a treat to dig in somebody’s else’s dirt. To work on these songs was like a playpen.”


According to the piece in addition to previously confirmed Evan Rachel Wood as MJ and Alan Cumming as Green Goblin, Spider-Man would be played, as much speculated by Reeve Carney, who has a role in director Julie Taymor’s upcoming TEMPEST movie. Carney has a musical background, but is other wise little known. However, his Twitter page makes everything much clearer:

Hello! I am in a band called CARNEY and I love John Cena.


Works for us.

James Bond and Wolverine team up for…ANGST

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MAN WATCH: EW has a first look at Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in the Broadway play ‘A Steady Rain’, which, we’re told, is a heavy duty drama about two Chicago cops.

Jackman, who won a Tony in 2004 for hoofing it as 1970s singer-songwriter Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, plays Denny, a patrolman with a racist streak and violent temper. And Craig, a London stage veteran making his Broadway debut, plays Joey, a recovering alcoholic and gentler soul who may not be as docile as he first seems. In A Steady Rain, which just began rehearsals, the two buddies in blue recount a few harrowing days on the job and their very different accounts of a police call that quickly went south.


Well, that sounds just awesome, except, based on the VERY, VERY serious look in Jackman’s eye and Craig’s fierce porn ‘stache, this play is really about two guys sitting around a steambath together. AND WE’D LOVE IT.

A CHECKROOM ROMANCE by Ben Katchor and Mark Mulcahy

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One of the events we were most sorry to miss while away was the workshop premiere of A CHECKROOM ROMANCE by cartoonist/storyteller Ben Katchor and musician Mark Mulcahy. The duo have collaborated on two previous theatrical pieces, which have won rave reviews. Well, we couldn’t do, but luckily, Brian Heaterfilled in with a post at the Daily Crosshatch:

The South Court auditorium is located underground—downstairs at the Stephen A. Schwarzman building, the recently renamed centralized headquarters for the New York Public Library famously guarded by two stoic stone lions. On Friday night the room was host to the second sold out night of A Checkroom Romance, a music-comedy—or, perhaps more appropriately a pop-music opera. It’s hard to figure out exactly what to call the performance, really, as it seemed to really exist in a class of its own—a stage show without precedent, really, save perhaps by the previous production of its creators, Julius Kniple artist Ben Katchor and former frontman of Miracle Legion (and later Pete & Pete houseband, Polaris) turned composer, Mark Mulcahy.


It sounds like quite an evening; we’re seeing more and more of this live slideshow/music/performance/cartoon crossover stuff as comics become more influential. If anyone knows how to do it, it’s Katchor, whose sense of humor and drama is sui generis.

What if…Wolverine SANG?


Up until now, Hugh Jackman has been able to keep his love of musical theater and his love of slicing people with his claws separate, but don’t think those of us who share those twin loves haven’t fantasized about WOLVERINE: THE MUSICAL. Now, Erik Beck from Indy Mogul and Mark Douglas, from Barely Political, have made our dreams come true..sort of. If the SPIDER-MAN musical takes off, this one could really work, we think.

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Bono speaks of Spidey!

200812160322We’ve devoted many items to the eventual Spider-Man musical, and we expect to devote more to it, because the damned thing doesn’t open for months and months. However, there’s one thing we haven’t linked to yet: what songwriter BONO THINKS OF SPIDER-MAN. Luckily, a fact-filled update from The Times UK, delivers the goods:

Bono has promised that the show will be “something the likes of which no-one has seen or heard”. He said the music will be part punk rock and part opera. “It should be a hallucinogenic experience for theatregoers,” he said. “You have the visual energy brings. The myth of the arachnid and the elasticity of these characters — you can turn theatre upside down.”


Oh, boy.

Gandalf and Picard team up to wait for Godot

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Or, if you prefer, Magneto and Professor X do Beckett.

According to a story on the BBC website, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will be doing WAITING FOR GODOT next year.

McKellan will play Estragon and Stewart will play Vladimir.

Stewart is currently playing Claudius in the RSC production of Hamlet starring soon-to-be-ex Doctor # 10, David Tennant.

No word if Hugh Jackman might play Pozzo or Lucky.

Posted by Mark Coale