Home Exclusives Spider Man on Broadway Creator Julie Taymor Speaks


Julie Taymor is not concerned about postponing the opening of “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” from January 11 to February 7, 2011.

“We’re happy about it,” Taymor told me last night in an interview. And why not? Even in previews, as a work in progress, “Spider Man” is a hit. It’s playing at 98% capacity, taking in almost $1 million a week.

The creator of “The Lion King” on Broadway and the Oscar nominated movie “Frida” says that with the holidays and cast absences, there were only “17 hours left to work until January 11th. It wasn’t enough time.” The show is putting on 8 performances a week as they make changes. It’s a little like building a house while people are living in it.

On Wednesday night, Taymor installed part of a new ending to the $65 musical. It won’t all be in until next Wednesday, December 23rd.

“We just got Natalie Mendoza back as Arachne,” she said, after Mendoza’s concussion. “She was out 17 days. We can’t throw it all on her at once. We’re also training the cover for her understudy. And we’re getting [star] Reeve Carney‘s alternate ready. It takes time.”

Now that most of the flying is in place, Taymor says the focus is on improving the book. “Every day we make changes, and you can see some of them now. But changes in our show often involve computers, programming. It’s not like here’s a new line, say this tonight.”

Taymor is trying to stay away from the vitriol expressed by some in the press. At the same time, she wonders why her $65 million musical is getting more of it than say, a $150 million movie flop. There are plenty of those right now. Sixty five million dollars, for a movie, would be considered cheap by many studio heads.

“We’re only going to have about 67 previews,” Taymor said. “A real Cirque du Soleil show tries out for 18 months and has false starts.”

Taymor promises that even by next week, audiences will see the fruits of their labors: more flying at the end of the show, much clarifying of the story in the second act, and a new breathtaking Spider web cast by Arachne around Spider Man. “You’re going to see Arachne more as the villain of the second act,” Taymor said. “But we had to wait until Natalie came back.”

Also, Bono and Edge from U2 will be back shortly from their U2 tour. They’ll determine if new songs need to be written. But Taymor says they will not be using any existing U2 hits other than the fun poke at “Vertigo.” “It’s all new,” she insists. “This isn’t an adaptation of a movie, like most musicals these days. This is all totally original, from scratch. “

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18 replies to this post
  1. Julie Taymor is an artist. sometimes things go wrong and in her attempt to get across what’s in her head, she is being met with technical difficulties and NO mercy from those of us she wishes to entertain. cut her some slack! everything this woman has done has impressed me… Across the Universe was awesome and the Lion King was awesome… i think her’s is a talent worth waiting for :)

  2. Hello Typo: Not “Spider Man: Turn of the Dark”
    Turn it off!! Turn it off!!! Turn off the spell checker and turn on the brain!!!

    Regards Super

  3. This all reminds me of the hype surrounding 1974’s Cat On a Hot Tin Roof featuring Keir Dullea and Elizabeth Ashley.

    Making the cover of Time and the talk of all the pundits, it was all we could do to stay, as we were simply determined to prove that we could be the last to walk out on an incredibly affected, over-the-top, terribly over-hyped show featuring incredibly bad exaggerated accents. In fact, the only pleasant surprise was Fred Gwynn as Big Daddy, who literally surprised the heck out of more than a few with his dramatic command.

    Just what we need…an adapted comic book/multiple movie remake on Broadway.

    So, when can we expect the theatrical production of Batman? Or Garfield?

    And to think such grand opportunities exist for real theater, only to be squandered on kitsch such as this.


  4. Does Julie Taymor not realize that movies do not cost $200 or more per ticket? If they did, people wouldn’t go; Broadway prices are absurd, but because the audience is limited, those prices must be charged. And, the play is not performed in hundreds of theatres, as movies are. I hope, for the investors’ sake, that they musical makes its money back, but I can’t see how they are going to take this show on the road. And I sincerely hope that Taymor’s budget does not set a new precedent for Broadway musicals or we’re not going to see many more new ones.


  5. There is a new way to make money on Wall Street. Be on the opposite side of ANY of Bono’s investments and you will be richly rewarded. The man has a reverse Midas Touch and it is becoming quite infamously known amongst the REAL Master’s of the Universe.

  6. I’m pulling for Taymor, but it’s disingenuous for her to question the attention her show is getting. It’s NOT a movie. It’s costs are $40 MILLION more than any other show in history.

    And while I know they had previously booked tour dates, it’s incredible that show’s songwriters were on the other side of the world when they were desdparately needed in NY. That is NOT how good shows are created.

  7. Saw this last Sunday, and, in short, I’m glad to hear they are working on “improving the book”. The group of comic fan characters, simultaneously writing and watching the show as it unfolds, simply does not work. It’s meant to be some kind of meta element of the musical, but really these characters are a weak device, permitting the playwright to explain to the baffled audience what just happened (or is going to happen) in an often confusing plot (and it also allows self-referential remarks about writing). I’d recommend scrapping all of these scenes. Show us better what is happening, don’t tell.

  8. C’mon let’s get this show on the road! Enough waiting already! My wife ordered tickets some year and a half ago and the show was postponsed back then. This is both very unprofessional and very disheartening. First the delays in waiting on new episdoes of AMC’s Breaking Bad and now this! Too much!

  9. Simply wow. I am continously amazed at the ‘artists’ ability to perform such great mental gymnastics in justifing plagarized un-original ideas. You know it, we know it, and if not for your peer driven society, you would be making plates somewhere. Stop spreading this no talent crap on us and do something ummm original maybe? At least not a re-hash or re-telling or re-boot. That is not imagination, that is lazy. Enough, such is life.

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