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Faces to Watch in 2010: Theater

December 24, 2009 |  1:30 pm

Reeve ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,   Superhero on Broadway

He’s supposed to be pretty much death-proof. But when it comes to his Broadway musical debut, Spider-Man has looked far more mortal than the web-slinger has been in comic books and movies. Now the new year will prove if an emergency transfusion of a new producer and fresh funding can save Peter Parker’s show.

“Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” doesn’t lack for creative talent, with Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”) directing a musical written by U2’s Bono and the Edge. Yet the very things that set the proposed musical apart -- elaborate flying sequences, massive sets, complex lighting -- ended up making it the most expensive show in Broadway history, budgeted at more than $50 million.
Michael Kuhl, a rock concert promoter who has never taken on a musical of this scale, became the show’s lead producer last fall when the show’s future looked bleakest. He must now raise millions of money, try to trim the show’s staggering $1-million-a-week running costs, and pray that leads Reeve Carney (Spider-Man, Peter Parker), pictured, and Evan Rachel Wood (Mary Jane) don’t get tired of waiting around.

-- John Horn

Brian Brian Geraghty, actor, ‘The Subject Was Roses’

The subject remains soldiering, but the milieu changes in 2010 for Brian Geraghty, who played a Gulf War-era Marine in “Jarhead” and an emotionally fragile Iraq War bomb-defuser in this year’s Oscar contender “The Hurt Locker.”

Geraghty, 35, will test his talents in a major role on a prominent stage in the Mark Taper Forum’s revival of Frank D. Gilroy’s 1964 drama, “The Subject Was Roses.” He plays Timmy Cleary, back home in the Bronx after fighting in World War II, who is caught in a domestic free-fire zone between his unhappily married parents, played by Martin Sheen and Frances Conroy.

If he has any anxiety about tackling a work whose pedigree includes the 1965 Pulitzer Prize and Tony for best play, Geraghty shouldn’t lack for guidance: Besides veteran director Neil Pepe, Sheen played Timmy in “The Subject Was Roses” on Broadway 45 years ago, then reprised the role in the 1968 film version. (Jack Albertson, playing the father, won a Tony and the supporting actor Oscar.)

Geraghty has a family connection of sorts with Sheen: In the film “Bobby” (2006), about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, he was an acid-tripping campaign worker. The film’s writer-director was Sheen’s son Emilio Estevez.

-- Mike Boehm

ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, playwright, ‘Doctor Cerberus’

Talk about superheroes and their mild-mannered alter egos. By day, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has earned a living writing for Marvel Comics. By night, he’s a prolific, Yale-trained playwright who regularly has the adjectives “spooky” and “weird” appear in reviews of his work.

Aguirre-Sacasa has suffered repeated drubbings from theater critics, but even so, his work keeps turning up in name venues such as Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth, Chicago’s Steppenwolf and the Manhattan Theatre Club.

He won’t have any prominent stage productions hereabout until 2010, when South Coast Repertory will present “Doctor Cerberus,” in which a sweet-natured youngster becomes enthralled with a late-night horror series. In July, L.A. Theatre Works will tape and later broadcast its own radio production of “Doctor Cerberus.” Will Aguirre-Sacasa, who also writes for the HBO series “Big Love,” find Southern California is the land of fresh starts?

-- Mike Boehm

More Faces:

Faces to Watch in 2010: Architecture

Photo credits, from top: Associated Press; Dan Steinberg / Associated Press; South Coast Repertory