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‘Spider-Man’ Musical Might Lose Director, Probably Not Opening Next Week


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After months of harsh headlines, tinkering and cast injuries, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will finally open a week from today, on March 15th. But probably not.

While no further postponements have been announced since Spider-Man producers promised a March 15th premiere, it seems like another delay is inevitable since the New York Times is reporting that producers are speaking to director Julie Taymor about whether the show needs a new creative team to fix what critics tore to shreds -- or whether Taymor should leave the production altogether. In recent weeks, the musical has hired Broadway talent, but a massive overhaul might be in the works, one that would postpone the musical even longer.

U2's Bono and The Edge, who wrote the music for the production, are also involved in the talks, and Bono is reportedly playing an active role after months of laying low during preview performances. Spider-Man just set a Broadway record this weekend with its 98th preview performance, the most ever for a musical. Spider-Man has also set a record with its $65 million budget, doubling the previous most expensive Broadway show.

Taymor, Bono and The Edge started work on Spider-Man in 2002, and given Taymor's reputation as an auteur, she'll likely be reluctant to relinquish creative decisions to new hires. Still it's amazing that given the number of intelligent people involved in the show, no one stopped well before the pre-production stages and questioned the confusing plot of the show or the unmemorable music. Everyone just went along thinking, "This is a good idea!" and continued to sink $65 million into this musical. It's the kind of mismanagement Hollywood studios have to endure on a weekly basis, and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark might be destined to be Broadway's version of Ishtar, a big-budget, overstuffed production that, despite not being as bad as critics made it out to be, the punch lines surrounding the musical are more memorable than the musical itself.

[Photo: Jim Spellman/]

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