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Reeve Carney

Finally, after a few postponements, the new Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark had its first preview performance on November 28. The $65 million production stars Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Carney was handpicked by director Julie Taymor to portray the superhero in this new musical, which features music by U2’s Bono and The Edge. Reeve is the front man of the rock band Carney, whose debut album, Mr. Green Vol 1, is out now. He can also be seen in Taymor’s film adaptation of The Tempest.

Josephine Hogan will portray the great actress Vivien Leigh in the upcoming one-woman play Vivien, directed by Richard Lambert at the New Phoenix in a co-production with Red Thread Theater. The show is scheduled to run January 13-February 12.

And no word yet on who will portray that other great star of the stage, Katharine Cornell, in the upcoming production of A. R. Gurney’s The Grand Manner at the Kavinoky in April. In the mea time, the company will continue its holiday tradition by once again presenting the radio play It’s a Wonderful Life, this week for five performances only (check On the Boards).

Sheila McCarthy has joined the cast of Irish Classical Theatre’s upcoming Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, playing Big Mama opposite Dan Walker’s Big Daddy. Opening January 13, the Tennessee Williams classic also stars Diane Curley as Maggie and Neal Moeller as Brick.

Congratulations to Eva-Marie Edukonis, who has been appointed Marketing Manager of Theatre of Youth. The position had been vacant for two years. The company’s season continues in February with Number the Stars.

Coming up next for Musicalfare, the regional premiere of [title of show]—yes that’s actually the name of it—directed by Randall Kramer, starring Steve Copps, Lisa Ludwig, Michele Marie Roberts, and Marc Sacco. After a very successful run off-Broadway which began in 2006, the intimate show moved to Broadway in 2008 where it was nominated for a Tony for Best Book. The show will probably make its West End debut next year. The Musicalfare production opens on January 26.

BUA will present the Buffalo premiere of the coming-of-age comedy Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, January 21-February 12. Directed by Chris Kelly, the show will star Justin Ryan, Caitlin Coleman, Tim Finnegan, Wendy Hall, John Kaczorowski, Kevin Kennedy, Matthew Nerber, and Marie Costa.

Julie Taymor

Among the members of the cast of the touring production of Dreamgirls, which plays through this weekend at Shea’s, is Milton Craig Nealy. Nealy was in the original 1981 production of Dreamgirls and in the 1987 revival. He was last on Broadway in Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s musical Caroline, or Change.

Speaking of touring productions, never say never. Cathy Rigby, who said she would give up playing the boy who wouldn’t grow up back in 2008, will star in a new national tour of Peter Pan launching in fall 2011. Rigby will turn 60 in 2012.

The fabulous Julie Taymor became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, for The Lion King. That show opened on Broadway in 1997 and is still running strong. Keep your fingers crossed for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which officially opens on January 11. Taylor’s current movie, her adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, features her Spider-Man, Reeve Carney, and also stars Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, and Alan Cumming.

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