Favorite Quotes Vol. XXVII: The man behind Spider-Man.

Looks like I’m not the only one who had Spider-Man on his mind this week.

Patrick Healy wrote a great piece on Michael Cohl, the impresario behind Spider-Man, that appeared in yesterday’s NY Times (now that everyone reads the Times online, can we kill the phrase “in the Times” already?  It’s really, “on the Times” now, right?).

The Times feature is the first real glimpse into the mind of the man who took on this super-heroic project last year.  It’s no coincidence that this exclusive appeared just 24 hours before the creative team (including Julie Taymor, U2 and the actor-formerly-known-as-Reeve-Carney-now-to-be-know-as-Spider-Man) made an appearance on Good Morning America.

The article would have been interesting even if Mr. Cohl wasn’t producing Spider-Man.  It tells the tale of his rise to super-entrepreneur after dropping out of high school and facing an empty wallet many, many times in his illustrious career.  And now, he’s behind the biggest Broadway musical ever.  Ever.  (He admits in the article that the budget is now up to $60 million.)

You know what’s cool?  In the age of these super-sized budgets, and the influx of corporations into our business, our biggest production ever will be produced old-school-style . . . by one man.

There are a few great soundbytes in the article, so I urge you all to read it yourself.

But the one I liked is the one that answers the question that all of us have been thinking since it was announced . . . “Are you nuts?  Why?”

Mr. Cohl answers unabashedly . . .

I got involved because I believed deeply in three artists:  Bono, Edge, Julie.  But there have been moments over the last year when I said, ‘This isn’t doable,’ when I went home and thought: ‘What am I doing?  I could be on a beach in Florida.”

He knows it’s a crazy enterprise.  But hey, so was that time he booked a 17,000 seat auditorium and didn’t sell enough tickets to pay the band.  And he survived.  He’ll survive this too, no matter what happens.

Besides, he’s passionate about artists and entertaining people.  Isn’t that why we all do what we do?

Don’t we all hope that we can find someone who is willing to break all the rules because they believe in us?

Here’s to Mr. Cohl, and here’s to you, for NOT being on a beach in Florida.

Read the full article here.

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