PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 25-31: Best Man Recoups, Spidey Lawsuit Settled

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31 Aug 2012

Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Finally. After months of squabbling and headlines, the producers of Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Julie Taymor have reached a tentative deal settling a dispute over her role in the musical, according to the Associated Press.

The settlement terms were not released, but a document filed Aug. 30 in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan said the case could be reopened within two months if the agreement breaks down. A jury trial on the case was originally scheduled to start in early 2013. That spectacle will be avoided if the deal is sealed. Dale Cendali, lead attorney for the producers, said she could not comment on the agreement, except to confirm that it was reached.

In November 2011, original Spider-Man director Taymor filed a lawsuit against the producers of the musical claiming that the producers violated her creative rights and did not compensate her for her work on the musical. In response, the producers filed an answer and countersuit against the director and her company.

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The fall and winter seasons at London's National Theatre were announced this week.



The world premiere of a new play by Alan Bennett, called People, will begin performances Oct. 31 prior to an official opening Nov. 7 in the Lyttelton Theatre. The production reunites the playwright with director Nicholas Hytner and actress Frances de la Tour, who were previously teamed together on both The History Boys, and is Bennett's sixth play for the National.

People revolves around a woman who decides to hold an attic sale (a seemingly uneventful, very Bennett-like plot, who could build a play around a man's trip to the post office to buy stamps). The large cast also stars Selina Cadell and Linda Bassett, and includes Frances Ashman, Philip Childs, Jack Chissick, Giles Cooper, Andy de la Tour, Peter Egan, Nicholas le Prevost, Jess Murphy, Alastair Parker and Robin Pearce.

Also in the wings is Pinero's classic farce The Magistrate, which will star John Lithgow as the title figure, an upright character who nonetheless gets caught up in a series of potentially scandalous and compromising situations. Timothy Sheader will direct, and Nancy Carroll and Joshua McGuire are also in the cast.

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Write a hit play for the country's most prominent nonprofit theatre and look what happens — lots of good actors want to be in your next play.

Becky Ann Baker
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Playwrights Horizons' world premiere of Amy Herzog's The Great God Pan will feature Becky Ann Baker, Peter Friedman, Sarah Goldberg, Keith Nobbs, Erin Wilhelmi and Joyce Van Patten. Carolyn Cantor directs the story of a Brooklyn journalist shaken by a revelation from the past. (A journalist who lives in Brooklyn? Who ever heard of such a thing?)

The production will begin previews in late November, with an opening night set for Dec. 18.

Herzog, of course, is the author of 4,000 Miles, a critical and popular hit for Lincoln Center Theater.

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Candy Buckley completes the casting for the new Broadway musical Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, which begins previews Oct. 13 at the Neil Simon Theatre. She'll play Minnie Kennedy, the headstrong mother of the title evangelist.

The musical featuring book and lyrics by Kathie Lee Gifford and music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman, stars the previously announced two-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello as Aimee.

Also in the cast are George Hearn, Edward Watts, Roz Ryan, Andrew Samonsky and Kenneth Ormiston.

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Gore Vidal went out with a hit.

The new Broadway revival of Vidal's The Best Man, about candidates seeking the presidential nomination of their political party at a convention, has recouped its investment, its producers announced on Aug. 27. The news came on the eve of the Republican National Convention. Insert Vidal-like ironic epigram here.