The amount of debt the production was in has never been fully revealed, although $25 million is the number most often batted around (The show’s budget had been estimated to be in the hundreds of millions at one point, but a slightly more sober $65-70 million seems to be closer to the truth). Garfinkle was the one blamed for the cost overrun, and as all work on the musical was suspended while new backing and a new producer were found – Michael Cohl, a rock promoter with a history with U2, became the show’s new promoter and secured millions in additional funding – the show lost both Rachel Wood and Cumming to “scheduling conflicts.” By February 2010, however – the month of the show’s original official opening – everyone felt confident enough to restart production, and by August, a new official cast was announced and rehearsals began. And then there was the accident.
At the end of October, it was revealed that not one but two actors had been injured during stunt rehearsals for the show; Kevin Aubin broke both his wrists after being catapulted into the air, and an anonymous second actor confirmed that he’d broken his feet performing the same stunt earlier. The news shut down production again, as New York state Department of Labor officials stepped in to investigate the safety of the show, pushing the show’s November 14th preview opening back two weeks after deciding that the show was so physically demanding that Carney would require a stand-in for two performances a week for his own good.
By this point, it seems as if the show could be cursed – or, perhaps, just a victim of Taymor’s ambition; the show is supposed to include not only wristbreak-defying stunts, but also a mix of live performance, animation and video, not to mention some of the craziest-looking outfits ever seen on the Broadway stage. If nothing else, the show’s troubled birth has given it the kind of buzz – admittedly, a lot of it based around the idea “This is going to be a disaster,” but still – that money can’t buy… not even $65-70 million. I’m already looking forward to reading the reviews on Monday morning – if the show isn’t delayed again before then.
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