“Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” is now using understudies instead of its leads for regular performances. Two sources tell me that an announcement was made to the cast and crew that Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker, Jennifer Damiano (Mary Jane), and Patrick Page (Green Goblin) are all out of the main performances for the next two weeks. The reason is they’re rehearsing new material on dawn til dusk. (A spokesman for the show insists that the performers can work all day and all night, and that understudies will not be used.)
The good news might be that audiences will see Matthew James Thomas as Peter Parker. He’s very good. What’s unclear is how this affects the character of Arachne, played by T.V. Carpio. She’s been out because of an injury. Her understudy, America Olivo, has been playing Arachne. Who is rehearsing Arachne’s new material is a big question. But that role, sources tell me, is being cut way down anyway.
“The whole second act has been rewritten,” says a source. “And there are new songs.” The show closes down after the April 17th performance, for three and a half weeks. The whole first week, I’m told, is just to make technical changes without the actors.
Meantime, the “Spider Man” producers still have no signed deal with creator Julie Taymor. Sources say that legally she may still have power to veto the new work that’s being done.