Is it possible? Yes, it is. “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark”–expensive, controversial, litigious, accidental, dangerous–is the lead candidate for Best New Musical at the 2012 Tony Awards. If someone had said this a year ago, there would have been peels of laughter and tomatoes thrown at the stage. But times have changed. Because “Spider Man” didn’t open until June 14th last year, it missed the Tony eligibility–and it had already played 100 shows by April 30th. But they were previews. Now “Spider Man” is breaking box office records at the Foxwoods Theater. Last week it took in $3 million. Three million dollars. So it’s here to stay. Audiences obviously love it.
Meantime, new musicals are scarce. The atrocious “Lysistrata Jones” closes soon. Coming this winter are “Newsies” and “Ghost,” each based on movies. There’s not a lot of hope there. There’s some talk that “Leap of Faith,” also based on a failed movie, may come in. But it got terrible reviews in Los Angeles. “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” a “new” Gershwin musical, is a possibility.
If “Spider Man” winds up being the Tony favorite, then look for some real scandalous trouble. The producers ousted creator Julie Taymor and haven’t paid her a red cent. She’s suing them. Meanwhile, the Tony committee ruled that she’s the only eligible Best Director nominee from the show–not her so called replacement, Philip McKinley.
This could be the first Tony show in which pepper spray is deployed in the green room and onstage. And what else: the two original female leads have left the show. They would be the nominees, not the women currently playing their roles. Good stuff. This is what they call drama!