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'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 Sunday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2014. There are 101 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We hear that Col. Reynolds has employed C.D. Merrill to drill for water to supply the Rock Island Barracks.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Billy Catton, famous billard player, returned to Rock Island with a view to making this city his home in the future.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The belief is growing that a great decisive battle of the World War was being fought at Verdun, a strong fortress of France on the Meuse near the French frontier, according to a London dispatch.
1939 -- 75 years ago: William Stremmel, 91, Rock Island's last Civil War veteran, died.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Workmen of the Midwest Wrecking Co., Clinton, have begun razing the historic old office building of Deere & Co., 1325 3rd Ave., Moline. The site will be used by the Deere Plow Works for its shipping and receiving department.
1989 -- 25 years ago: East Moline developer Jim Massa says the financial package for the proposed $34.5 million Quad City International Motor Speedway is down to making sure "all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Finalizing this will give the green light to see if NASCAR and CART, the auto racing sanctioning bodies, approve race dates.






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