PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Dec. 25-Dec. 31: "Arachne" Exits; Arcadia Confirms; Leguizamo Plans

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Dec. 25-Dec. 31: "Arachne" Exits; Arcadia Confirms; Leguizamo Plans
 
Another week, another spate of Spider-Man developments.

Natalie Mendoza and T.V. Carpio after the first preview
Natalie Mendoza and T.V. Carpio after the first preview Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Natalie Mendoza, the actress who was injured during the first preview of the $65-million musical Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, has left the production permanently, we learned this week. The producers made the news of her exit official on Dec. 30.

Mendoza, who plays a major role as a spider-like villain (named Arachne) in the show, received her concussion when, standing offstage, she was hit on the head by a rope that was holding a piece of the production's equipment. Against doctor's advice, she performed Dec. 1 but was unable to do so at the Dec. 2 performance at the Foxwoods Theatre. She returned to the show Dec. 16 but then experienced vocal problems and has not been in the production since Dec. 20. On that date, Christopher Tierney, a good friend of Mendoza, was injured when he fell 30 feet inthe last ten minutes of the show.

As for Tierney, he is no longer in the intensive care unit at Bellevue Hospital. He has been discharged from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility in New York City.

Tierney's injuries, AP previously stated, include a "hairline skull fracture, four broken ribs, a bruised lung, internal bleeding and cracks in three lumbar vertebrae."

Meanwhile, over the holiday weekend, both Linda Winer of Newsday and Jeremy Gerard of Bloomberg News decided the show had been in previews — and in the news — long enough, and offered informal reviews of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, rather than waiting until after the show officially opens, a customary rule among Broadway theatre critics. The Times also let it be known that it would not wait forever. The Times will not get the opportunity to talk to director Julie Taymor about all these matters. The director has withdrawn from a Jan. 8 public forum that was scheduled to be part of The New York Times Arts & Leisure weekend.

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Raul Esparza

The new revival of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia is now official. Billy Crudup, Raul Esparza and Margaret Colin will star in the Broadway production, which will begin performances Feb. 25, 2011, at the Barrymore Theatre. David Leveaux will helm the play.

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John Leguizamo, the comic, writer and actor, is heading back to Broadway.

Leguizamo's new solo show, Ghetto Klown, which he also conceived, will begin performances Feb. 21, 2011, at the Lyceum Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for March 22.

The 12-week engagement will take audiences "from his adolescent memories in Queens to the early days of his acting career during the outrageous '80s avant-garde theatre scene, and on to the sets of major motion pictures and his roles opposite some of Hollywood's biggest stars."

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Old newspaper theatre critics don't die. They go to the Internet.

Following in the footsteps of John Simon, theatre and arts writer and critic Howard Kissel, who has lost his forum as a contributor to the New York Daily News' online blog known as The Cultural Tourist, is becoming part of the Huffington Post.

Earlier in December, former New York Magazine drama critic Simon took his talents to his own newly created website, johnsimon-uncensored.com. He is also writing theatre reviews for Yonkers Tribune and the Westchester Guardian.

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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the world-premiere Lincoln Center Theater musical based on Pedro Almodóvar's Oscar-nominated 1988 film, will end its Broadway run prematurely, producers told the cast this week.

Despite its starry Broadway cast and Oscar-nominated source material, the musical by Jeffrey Lane and David Yazbek will close Jan. 2, 2011, three weeks prior to its scheduled closing date of Jan. 23, 2011. The production will have played 30 previews and 69 performances at the Belasco Theatre. Unfriendly reviews followed the opening of the musical, which is directed by Bartlett Sher and did not have the advantage of an out-of-town tryout. The show boasts Sherie Rene Scott, Patti LuPone, Laura Benanti and Brian Stokes Mitchell among its cast.

Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Laura Benanti and Justin Guarini
Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Laura Benanti and Justin Guarini
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