'Spider-Man' director returning to Augie


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Posted Online: May 17, 2012, 9:28 am
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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com
The Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" is the most expensive in history, but it won't cost you a dime to see its director, Augustana alumnus Phil McKinley, when he returns to give the Rock Island college's commencement speech Sunday.

Mr. McKinley, a member of the Augie Class of 1973, will be the featured speaker for the college's 152nd commencement at 3 p.m. Sunday at the i wireless Center, Moline, which is open to the public. Mr. McKinley -- who owns a home in Davenport and directed Curtainbox Theatre's "Wit" here in summer 2010 -- has said his path to success started at Augustana.

He had five majors -- education, speech and drama, music, English, and art — and still managed to graduate in three years.

"I had an amazing group of teachers/mentors --— Dennis Hitchcock, Dorothy Parkander, Dean (Betsey) Brodahl, Ann Boaden, Ruth Holmen, Don Morrison, Gary Hobbs and Rev. Richard 'Swanie' Swanson are just a few among the many who were incredibly supportive and allowed me to incorporate all these different disciplines into required courses," Mr. McKinley said in a college release. "Augustana provided me with a true liberal-arts education and background, and there is no value you can put on it. It is priceless."

Mr. McKinley has directed Hugh Jackman in the Tony-award winning "The Boy From Oz," and he helmed more editions of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus than any other living person. In March 2011, he was asked to replace Julie Taymor as director of the now $75-million "Spider-Man" musical, which began previews in November 2010 and didn't open until June 14, 2011.

The spectacle -- with a score by Bono and The Edge -- had the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history this past winter, but failed to earn any major Tony nominations. It was nominated for Best Costume Design and Best Scenic Design.

The show's producers are offering free tickets to the June 10 performance, which is the same day as the Tony Awards ceremony, to anyone with the first name Anthony, Tony, Antoinette, Toni or Antonio. So that when Tony Sunday rolls around, "Spider-Man" will technically have "more Tonys than any other show on Broadway on Sunday, June 10," the producers said.






 












 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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