Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Spider Man on Broadway Update: Taymor Still Unpaid, Director’s Credit Goes to McKinley


It’s almost a year since “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” started previews on Broadway. Flashback if you will to November 21st, no, 28th to that fateful, postponed performance. The show didn’t “open” officially until June 14th, after closing down for three weeks. That’s when director and creator Julie Taymor was forced out. Taymor retained her credit. Philip Wm. McKinley, formerly the director of the low brow “Boy from Oz,” was brought in as “creative consultant.” And while the show’s script was rearranged, the basics of the show remained — and they were Taymor’s. So it’s instructive to point out two things: Taymor has still not been paid for her work beyond $200,000 $125,000 salary. She worked on the show for 9 years.

And, even more curiously, McKinley is now listed as the show’s director on the musical’s website. Taymor has been re-dubbed with the rubic: “Original Direction by.” She also gets credit for the masks.

The credit change, which has turned up in other places lately, happened surreptitiously. Even though McKinley was brought in to do “fine tuning,” and didn’t create any aspect of the show, he’s simply morphed into the director’s title.

One reason given by Broadway insiders: there may be a thought of trying to get McKinley nominated Best Director of a Musical at the Tony Awards.

Good luck with that.

On the payment front, I’m told the arbitration complaint filed by Taymor has had just two days’ official discussion. It will resume in…February 2012. The “Spider Man” producers still don’t want to pay Taymor, apparently.The show has taken in an average of $1.5 million almost every week it’s been open. Of course, it’s also cost $70 million.

Meantime, as I reported first a couple of weeks ago, the female leads of the show–Jennifer Damiano and T.V. Carpio–are leaving the roles of Mary Jane and Arachne this month. Carpio, especially, had reason to leave: her role was cut to shreds. Sticking around is Patrick Page, aka the Green Goblin, who has hopes of a Tony nomination. Star Reeve Carney is awaiting word that financing is complete on the Jeff Buckley “Dream Brother” project before he takes a break to make the film. A casting call recently went out for that movie, so his absence may be imminent.

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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