Gee, we figured the problem was two egomaniacs teaming up to work on material neither knew nor cared a thing about, but maybe we’re wrong. According to Julie Taymor, former director of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, it was the audience—not its indifferent makers and their faulty cables—that are responsible for the musical fiasco. “Twitter and Facebook and blogging just trump you,” she said at a Theater Communications Group event this weekend. “It’s very hard to create. It’s incredibly difficult to be under a shot glass and a microscope like that.” You’d think a 2010 show that gave its first readings in 2007 and ran a record number of previews had plenty of time to gestate, but you wouldn’t be Ms. Taymor.
“It’s very scary if people are going more towards that, to have audiences tell you how to make a show,” she said, referring to the focus groups producers used when fixing their multi-million dollar musical about a superhero with songs by the guys from U2. “Shakespeare would have been appalled. Forget about it. It would be impossible to have these works come out because there’s always something that people don’t like.” She even referenced Norman Lear‘s All In The Family, whose racist lead Archie might not have survived in today’s climate. And to be fair, Archie and Arachne—whose number about spider goddesses buying shoes was cut from Turn Off The Dark—have a lot of the same letters in their name. But would Lear or Shakespeare have been making a Spider-Man musical in the first place? Maybe her decision to take on a high-profile gig based on a comic book is the blogosphere’s fault, too.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Bono and The Edge may tell the media that Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is only “90% done,” but that didn’t stop them from rolling the red carpet out for the powerful pals at Tuesday’s opening night performance. Among the celebs on hand for the musical’s first “official” performance (following months of notorious “previews”) were former President Bill Clinton, Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, Jay-Z, Cindy Crawford, Spike Lee and Helena Christiansen. Even original director Julie Taymor, fired after refusing to make changes to the critically maligned, accident-prone show was on hand despite her lawsuit against the producers. It’s been a long decade to this moment for the musical’s makers—will staying on Broadway be even harder?
See photos of the red carpet and curtain call in the gallery below.
[Photos: Getty Images/WireImage]
While Julie Taymor isn’t leaving Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark as previously rumored, she’s definitely not running the show anymore. The producers finally announced last night that Boy From Oz director Phillip William McKinley would be “joining the creative team.” “Julie Taymor is not leaving the creative team,” they swore. “Her vision has been at the heart of this production since its inception and will continue to be so. Julie’s previous commitments mean that past March 15th, she cannot work the 24/7 necessary to make the changes in the production in order to be ready for our opening.”
Despite the PR phrasing, friends of Taymor claim she’s being pushed aside after she declined suggests from the show’s songwriters Bono & The Edge, which could explain why she had no comment while Bono says “All of us on the creative team are committed to taking Spider-Man to the next level…we are confident it will reach its full potential.” The show is now scheduled to open early Summer 2011, and it’s hard to imagine they’ll take any longer—not when the new Spider-Man movie is due July 2012. Considering how many millions have already been spent getting the show to its current level (not to mention nine years of planning), how much will Bono and McKinley have to get it towards the “next level” in three months?
[Photo: Getty Images]
Though Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is still scheduled to premiere on Broadway on March 15th (as of 2:30pm EST), it doesn’t look like anyone should put money down on their rental tux. The New York Times says producers are telling investors that embattled director Julie Taymor may be leaving Spider-Man, once they hash out the legal details (and considering she’s the play’s creator, there are few). Though the musical has been maligned by critics and safety inspectors alike for months, The Daily says the final straw was when the musical’s songwriter Bono lost his “trust” in Taymor’s vision after she wouldn’t let him make it “more of a Broadway musical.” We’ll let you decide whether Bono knows Broadway way better than Taymor.
Dark‘s PR man maintained to the NYT that the premiere would be next week, and told Reuters “The production is not confirming any reports of a shutdown.” With only a handful of days to go, one would assume the issue would be resolved, like, yesterday. But remember, this is a show nine years in the making with 99 preview performances to its name—it’s not like they’ve fixed problems quickly before.
[Photo: Getty Images]