Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Spider Man Musical Not Getting New Director or Writer, Says Julie Taymor


The continued sniping at “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” by the New York Post has turned into a festival of untruths. The Post reported that “Spider Man” creator Julie Taymor was getting either a co-director and script doctor or both. It’s just not true. But it’s part of the Post’s campaign to kill “Spider Man,” something they can’t seem to do. Box office is booming, with “Spider Man” the number 2 show on Broadway, right behind “Wicked.” Everyone wants to see it. People come out humming songs like “Say Now,” “Rise Above,” and “Boy Falls from the Sky.”

I spoke to Julie Taymor this morning. She was working on some changes with her own co-writer, Glenn Berger. She told me she’s had lots of input about changes from friends and colleagues. “No one has been hired or is being hired,” Taymor said. “The director they mentioned is a friend of Michael Cohl’s. I’m sure he asked his opinion. When a show’s in previews, everyone gives their opinion. Try this, that. And the other guy, I’ve never even heard of him.”

Indeed, the Post chose two very obscure names as possible helpers for Taymor. As one observer put it, “If they’d said Mike Nichols or Jerry Zaks or someone big it would have made sense. But who are those people? No one’s heard of them.”

There’s no doubt that Taymor is under terrific pressure. Three weeks away from her official opening, she’s already had two dozen or so mixed to negative early reviews. The theater critics felt snubbed by the show and were clearly out to get her. The public clearly does not care. As I watched Cirque du Soleil’s “Love” show over the weekend, I kept thinking how amazing it was that Taymor was trying to pull off something similar in a Broadway house. If “Turn off the Dark” had opened in Montreal with Cirque du Soleil, it would hailed over and over.

Interestingly, the “Love” show operates on the same kind of pulleys for flying as “Spider Man.” In Saturday’s show, there were more than a few times when you could hear the aerialists landing hard, wires crunching, etc. In one sequence, acrobats bounce off trampolines and nets onto an English telephone booth. Sometimes they miss. They’re human. ┬áSo are the people from “Spider Man.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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