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Tangled Web Takes A Broadway Fall
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Whatever the ins and outs of this story, and whether there is blame to be directed to any one person, will probably be revealed. Perhaps in a play with the behind the behind the scenes revelations of A CHORUS LINE. Who might be best to direct it is best left to others. However, there is certainly something wrong with this production of "Spider-Man" and it seems waaaay too much money has already been sunk to pull the plug.

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Precipitous Fall for ‘Spider-Man’ Director

Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Julie Taymor was said to have rebuffed requests for script changes. More Photos »

 By PATRICK HEALY

"How Ms. Taymor went from artistic genius, a reputation that helped secure all that money for “Spider-Man,” to a girl falling from the sky (to paraphrase a song in the show) is not only the stuff of Greek drama but also sure to become theatrical legend."

It was 1996 when Disney Theatrical Productions took a chance on a little-known director of experimental theater named Julie Taymor. They handed her a musical based on their hit film, “The Lion King,” and they found themselves with a billion-dollar hit. Ms. Taymor became the theater world’s star auteur.

Now, all of a sudden, she is something else entirely.

After nine years of work, Ms. Taymor is stepping aside as director of the most expensive and technically ambitious musical ever on Broadway, the $65 million “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” its producers announced on Wednesday night. They named a new director to replace her and a script doctor to rewrite the show, as they prepared to overhaul the production during the next three months — including adding two new songs by the composers, U2’s Bono and the Edge.

On Wednesday night, the producers, along with Bono and the Edge, told the “Spider-Man” cast that Ms. Taymor was out. According to one person who was there, Bono said that Ms. Taymor would still be part of the show, but that he felt sad she would not be there day to day. The producers told the cast members to put on their “game faces.”

Friends and colleagues of Ms. Taymor’s said she was being pushed aside because of sharply negative reviews by theater critics last month and because she would not make changes that the producers and her fellow creators, Bono and the Edge, had sought.

Ms. Taymor did not include a comment in the press release that the producers issued — a sign of the discord among them. A spokeswoman for Ms. Taymor said on Wednesday night that she was “not commenting at this time.”

How Ms. Taymor went from artistic genius, a reputation that helped secure all that money for “Spider-Man,” to a girl falling from the sky (to paraphrase a song in the show) is not only the stuff of Greek drama but also sure to become theatrical legend. Broadway has exploded into a big-budget, star-driven, high-priced marketplace; Ms. Taymor is a proud perfectionist, but more of a visual scene-setter than a storyteller, and her outré approach to a classic superhero story and such a huge commercial product helped speed her undoing.

According to four of her colleagues, Ms. Taymor boxed herself into a corner with the producers in the last few weeks by rebuffing their requests to allow outsiders to make changes to the show. She would not meet with some of them, and she did not act on suggestions for improvements; at one feedback session with the cast, some actors argued for strengthening the central love story between Peter Parker and M. J. Watson, but Ms. Taymor insisted, “It’s there.” The Edge, Bono and the producers also expected that she would make far-reaching changes in the show’s critically panned Act II, but after attending recent performances, they concluded that she lacked the objectivity to ruthlessly reshape the show.

Friends of Ms. Taymor, a Tony Award winner for best director and costume design for “The Lion King,” described her as anguished and distraught.

(more)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/theater/julie-taymor-spider-man.html/?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimestheater