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Denebola » Sophie Scharlin-Pettee http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark­­­—a tangled web http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/spider-man-turn-off-the-dark%c2%ad%c2%ad%c2%ad%e2%80%94a-tangled-web/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/spider-man-turn-off-the-dark%c2%ad%c2%ad%c2%ad%e2%80%94a-tangled-web/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:37:18 +0000 Sophie Scharlin-Pettee http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5822 The legend of Spider-Man has dazzled the minds of people of all ages since the idea was first imagined in 1962, by Marvel writers Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Spider-Man was created in the age when teenage characters were almost always sidekicks, and Spider-Man broke the norm by featuring Peter Parker.
Peter Parker is a high school student with typical worries such as rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness, allowing him to be a relatable character to young readers everywhere.
Evan Kelly, Newton South’s Tech Director and self-proclaimed comic book geek, believes “that what has made Spider-Man a lasting character is his human foibles.”
Since then, the legend of Spider-Man has enraptured audiences of all ages with numerous films starring acclaimed actors such as Tobey Maguire, and has consequently developed into a comic empire.
Recently, Spider-man has caught the attention of not only high-caliber film producers, but ambitious Broadway executives
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was originally the newest production of director Julie Taymor, who has produced international successes such as The Lion King and directed the hit Beatles-centric film Across the Universe.
The music was composed by U2’s Bono and the band The Edge, with it’s script written by director Julie Taymor and Glen Berger.
Taymor’s most recent musical about the web-swinging, spandex-wearing hero has already cost her sixty-five million dollars, especially with the demands of a 1,928-seat Foxwoods theatre on 42nd street, tailored to fit the many specific challenges the show has presents.
“She’s a brilliant director and has done wonderful work with challenging material,” Kelly said.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is only one example of how commenplace heroes and comics have become in our society.
With recent Box-office hits like Superman, X-Men, and The Dark Knight, America is embracing the once-nerdy heroes of society’s previously voiceless individuals.
Comic books, once scoffed at for their demographic, are now regarded affectionately.
People have certainly been flocking to see the spectacle, with a record-breaking statistic of more than one hundred preview performances for Taymor’s creation.
As opposed to norm for most shows, the preview performances have not been out of a desire for building anticipation, but out of necessity.
The musical adaptation of Spider-Man involves actors web-swinging over the audience, cables and wires being the only life-line the actors have.
With at least four actors injured, the show has already become infamous for its breathtaking but dangerous stunts.
“I have heard it is a technical disaster.  They are trying to create a circus-like environment in a traditional set up.
There are a lot of flying effects and if they were constrained to the stage area they’d be much more manageable,” said Kelly.
The original Arachne (Spider-Man’s spider nemesis), Natalie Mendoza, has already quit due to concussion and been recast with 29-year-old T.V. Carpio.
Actor Christopher Tierney fell almost thirty feet into the pit orchestra, resulting in a fractured skull, a broken scapula, a broken elbow, four broken ribs, a bruised lung, and three fractured vertebrae.
A stunt man even fell during a rehearsal and was impaled on the Empire State Buiding’s spire.
The only leading-role cast member that remains from the original casting is Reeve Carney, the actor portraying Spider-Man.  “Whenever anyone gets hurt it is a warning sign to stop,” said Kelly.
The show’s opening night has already been delayed numerous times, and is currently set for Tuesday, June 14th, 2011.  It’s original air date was Tuesday, December 21st, 2010.
Many people have found the show to be aesthetically dazzling but otherwise lacking in its dialogue and music, gaining negative reviews from sources such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
It has been quoted by Ben Brantley of The New York Times as being “not only the most expensive musical to ever hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.”
Kelly feels that “the production is focusing more on the spectacular notion of comic books, not the telling of an engaging story.”
Jeff Knoedler, Newton South’s Arts Department head, had heard of the disaster-prone show, saying, “I also think that the notoriety of the musical has taken on a life of its own, and people seem to be attacking it without really knowing much about it.”
Within the past month, Julie Taymor was actually fired as the director for “commitment conflicts,” which has only added to the fervor and infamy of the web-swinging musical.
“All this is really surprising to me because of the artists leading the project.  Julie Taymor is one of the most exciting theater artists working today.  Bono and the Edge are excellent musicians.
I was excited to hear they were teaming up to create a musical and am shocked that it seems to have turned out so badly,” said Knoedler.
Kelly said, “The problem with the show is the spectacle came before the story.”
Despite its dangerous stunts and not-quite-heralded quality, ticket sales continue to rise, grossing more than 1.3 million dollars in a single February week.
It seems that in spite of the negative attention and unenthusiastic press, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is persevering and will be the first and likely last Broadway musical to ever feature actors waging fierce battles in tights and masks over the audience.
Says Knoedler, “I’d like to see it for myself.”

The legend of Spider-Man has dazzled the minds of people of all ages since the idea was first imagined in 1962, by Marvel writers Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.Spider-Man was created in the age when teenage characters were almost always sidekicks, and Spider-Man broke the norm by featuring Peter Parker.Peter Parker is a high school student with typical worries such as rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness, allowing him to be a relatable character to young readers everywhere.Evan Kelly, Newton South’s Tech Director and self-proclaimed comic book geek, believes “that what has made Spider-Man a lasting character is his human foibles.”Since then, the legend of Spider-Man has enraptured audiences of all ages with numerous films starring acclaimed actors such as Tobey Maguire, and has consequently developed into a comic empire. Recently, Spider-man has caught the attention of not only high-caliber film producers, but ambitious Broadway executivesSpider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was originally the newest production of director Julie Taymor, who has produced international successes such as The Lion King and directed the hit Beatles-centric film Across the Universe.The music was composed by U2’s Bono and the band The Edge, with it’s script written by director Julie Taymor and Glen Berger.Taymor’s most recent musical about the web-swinging, spandex-wearing hero has already cost her sixty-five million dollars, especially with the demands of a 1,928-seat Foxwoods theatre on 42nd street, tailored to fit the many specific challenges the show has presents.“She’s a brilliant director and has done wonderful work with challenging material,” Kelly said.Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is only one example of how commenplace heroes and comics have become in our society. With recent Box-office hits like Superman, X-Men, and The Dark Knight, America is embracing the once-nerdy heroes of society’s previously voiceless individuals.Comic books, once scoffed at for their demographic, are now regarded affectionately.People have certainly been flocking to see the spectacle, with a record-breaking statistic of more than one hundred preview performances for Taymor’s creation.As opposed to norm for most shows, the preview performances have not been out of a desire for building anticipation, but out of necessity.The musical adaptation of Spider-Man involves actors web-swinging over the audience, cables and wires being the only life-line the actors have.  With at least four actors injured, the show has already become infamous for its breathtaking but dangerous stunts.  “I have heard it is a technical disaster.  They are trying to create a circus-like environment in a traditional set up. There are a lot of flying effects and if they were constrained to the stage area they’d be much more manageable,” said Kelly.The original Arachne (Spider-Man’s spider nemesis), Natalie Mendoza, has already quit due to concussion and been recast with 29-year-old T.V. Carpio. Actor Christopher Tierney fell almost thirty feet into the pit orchestra, resulting in a fractured skull, a broken scapula, a broken elbow, four broken ribs, a bruised lung, and three fractured vertebrae.A stunt man even fell during a rehearsal and was impaled on the Empire State Buiding’s spire.The only leading-role cast member that remains from the original casting is Reeve Carney, the actor portraying Spider-Man.  “Whenever anyone gets hurt it is a warning sign to stop,” said Kelly.The show’s opening night has already been delayed numerous times, and is currently set for Tuesday, June 14th, 2011.  It’s original air date was Tuesday, December 21st, 2010.Many people have found the show to be aesthetically dazzling but otherwise lacking in its dialogue and music, gaining negative reviews from sources such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.It has been quoted by Ben Brantley of The New York Times as being “not only the most expensive musical to ever hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.” Kelly feels that “the production is focusing more on the spectacular notion of comic books, not the telling of an engaging story.” Jeff Knoedler, Newton South’s Arts Department head, had heard of the disaster-prone show, saying, “I also think that the notoriety of the musical has taken on a life of its own, and people seem to be attacking it without really knowing much about it.”   Within the past month, Julie Taymor was actually fired as the director for “commitment conflicts,” which has only added to the fervor and infamy of the web-swinging musical.  “All this is really surprising to me because of the artists leading the project.  Julie Taymor is one of the most exciting theater artists working today.  Bono and the Edge are excellent musicians.I was excited to hear they were teaming up to create a musical and am shocked that it seems to have turned out so badly,” said Knoedler.Kelly said, “The problem with the show is the spectacle came before the story.”Despite its dangerous stunts and not-quite-heralded quality, ticket sales continue to rise, grossing more than 1.3 million dollars in a single February week.It seems that in spite of the negative attention and unenthusiastic press, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is persevering and will be the first and likely last Broadway musical to ever feature actors waging fierce battles in tights and masks over the audience.  Says Knoedler, “I’d like to see it for myself.”

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Art Focus: Jeffrey Alkins http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/14/art-focus-jeffrey-alkins/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/14/art-focus-jeffrey-alkins/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 03:52:43 +0000 Sophie Scharlin-Pettee http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5838 “I love to dance.  It allows me to paint a picture through movement for all watching to see.”
Senior Jeffrey Alkins has been dancing his whole life.“I was always a dancer at social gatherings…but it wasn’t until I joined my first art studio and professional youth company at twelve that my dance career was truly born.”
Alkins has been a part of the Origination Cultural Arts Center ever since, and it is where he has received his technical training.
He has also danced in numerous productions of the professional youth company, Nia Dance Company, where he is currently a senior troupe member.
The Nia Dance Company is presently planning on defending their title at the Prelude New England Urban Dance Competition on April 9th.
Alkins takes as many as twelve to fourteen hours of dance classes a week, ranging regularly from Hip Hop to African to Ballet.
As well as taking many dance classes, he is a star student, taking two AP’s and one honors course, while also being an active member of Harambee, Newton South’s gospel choir.
Within his dance companies and troupes, Alkins performs locally and throughout the country while also touring internationally.
The summer does not take away from his impressive focus; Alkins has once performed five shows in a three day period.
He also tours colleges and universities during the summer, performing at places like Yale and UConn.
“This summer I plan on taking several Master Classes with guest professional choreographers. I’m also planning a trip to California for two weeks to take as many open classes at different studios as possible.
New choreographers are a great way to grow as a dancer and artist.”
Alkins sees his dance as also spiritual, as “(he) thinks art is beautiful, and anyone who does a successful job of displaying his or her artwork adds to the world.”
He finds that dancers must “grow and reach deep inside themselves to produce something raw, beautiful, and so real.”
For Alkins, dance is a way of opening up to other people and sharing an experience, as “by watching, the viewer is joining me in the journey.”
Along with dancing, Alkins has a newly-discovered love of the performing arts: he was recently cast as one of the male leads in Hairspray, Seaweed.
Alkins relished the part, saying “I love to act and perform.” While also enjoying theater and acting, Alkins takes two chorus classes at South, the first being Madrigals, the junior-senior choir, and the aforementioned Harambee.
Recently, he performed in Tertulia, Newton South’s student talent show.
Simultaneously as a dancer and performer, Alkins is being recruited by colleges for football and track, as he is an enthusiastic participant of both Newton South teams. He also loves to swim, this being his favorite sport.
Though he works hard and is a vital member of both his dance troupes and sports teams, he has never felt the pressure to choose between one or the other.
In fact, his passion transcends both climates, saying “the feeling of being on stage is only matched by that of the field or whatever the competitive athletic venue may be.”
As for the future, Alkins has many dreams and is keeping his options open.
“As of now I am still undecided as to where I’ll be spending the next four years.
However, regardless of where I go I know dance will always be a part of my future.”
“Whether I have to join my school’s company/group, minor in dance, or double major with dance as one of them…I will continue to expand as a dancer. It has become an important part of my identity.”
When considering his life beyond college, Alkins has no single idea he has chosen to pursue.
“I really have a soft spot for policy change and social activism.  So don’t be surprised if you hear my name in politics someday.
Or I could just go into sports medicine and massage/physical therapy. Then again, I do love to write.”
For Alkins, “The world is my oyster. Why limit myself, you know? I want to learn as much as possible, see as much as possible, and do as much as possible.
“I have big plans.”

“I love to dance.  It allows me to paint a picture through movement for all watching to see.”Senior Jeffrey Alkins has been dancing his whole life.“I was always a dancer at social gatherings…but it wasn’t until I joined my first art studio and professional youth company at twelve that my dance career was truly born.”Alkins has been a part of the Origination Cultural Arts Center ever since, and it is where he has received his technical training.He has also danced in numerous productions of the professional youth company, Nia Dance Company, where he is currently a senior troupe member.The Nia Dance Company is presently planning on defending their title at the Prelude New England Urban Dance Competition on April 9th.Alkins takes as many as twelve to fourteen hours of dance classes a week, ranging regularly from Hip Hop to African to Ballet.As well as taking many dance classes, he is a star student, taking two AP’s and one honors course, while also being an active member of Harambee, Newton South’s gospel choir.Within his dance companies and troupes, Alkins performs locally and throughout the country while also touring internationally.The summer does not take away from his impressive focus; Alkins has once performed five shows in a three day period.He also tours colleges and universities during the summer, performing at places like Yale and UConn.“This summer I plan on taking several Master Classes with guest professional choreographers. I’m also planning a trip to California for two weeks to take as many open classes at different studios as possible.New choreographers are a great way to grow as a dancer and artist.”Alkins sees his dance as also spiritual, as “(he) thinks art is beautiful, and anyone who does a successful job of displaying his or her artwork adds to the world.” He finds that dancers must “grow and reach deep inside themselves to produce something raw, beautiful, and so real.” For Alkins, dance is a way of opening up to other people and sharing an experience, as “by watching, the viewer is joining me in the journey.”Along with dancing, Alkins has a newly-discovered love of the performing arts: he was recently cast as one of the male leads in Hairspray, Seaweed.Alkins relished the part, saying “I love to act and perform.” While also enjoying theater and acting, Alkins takes two chorus classes at South, the first being Madrigals, the junior-senior choir, and the aforementioned Harambee.Recently, he performed in Tertulia, Newton South’s student talent show.Simultaneously as a dancer and performer, Alkins is being recruited by colleges for football and track, as he is an enthusiastic participant of both Newton South teams. He also loves to swim, this being his favorite sport.Though he works hard and is a vital member of both his dance troupes and sports teams, he has never felt the pressure to choose between one or the other.In fact, his passion transcends both climates, saying “the feeling of being on stage is only matched by that of the field or whatever the competitive athletic venue may be.”As for the future, Alkins has many dreams and is keeping his options open.“As of now I am still undecided as to where I’ll be spending the next four years.However, regardless of where I go I know dance will always be a part of my future.”“Whether I have to join my school’s company/group, minor in dance, or double major with dance as one of them…I will continue to expand as a dancer. It has become an important part of my identity.”When considering his life beyond college, Alkins has no single idea he has chosen to pursue.“I really have a soft spot for policy change and social activism.  So don’t be surprised if you hear my name in politics someday.Or I could just go into sports medicine and massage/physical therapy. Then again, I do love to write.” For Alkins, “The world is my oyster. Why limit myself, you know? I want to learn as much as possible, see as much as possible, and do as much as possible.“I have big plans.”

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