Broadway's Spider-Man may lose its genius, director Julie Taymor

After spending nine years shepherding 'Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark' to Broadway, theater phenomenon Julie Taymor reportedly no longer will direct the show.

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    Julie Taymor reportedly no longer will be the director of 'Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark' on Broadway.
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Two-time Tony Award winner Julie Taymor, who took Broadway by storm with her groundbreaking production of "The Lion King," is reportedly no longer the director of the beleaguered musical ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.’

The New York Daily News wrote that sources say Ms. Taymor is 'out' and that the show's spokesman, Rick Miramontez, declined to comment. It is unclear whether Ms. Taymor quit or was fired.

Setback after setback has befallen the production, including high-flying injuries, several delayed openings, federal workplace safety violations, and critical condemnation. Despite – or perhaps because – of its high-profile problems, "Spider-Man" has been a top money-maker since it started the longest preview period ever for a Broadway show on Nov. 28, 2010. It has enjoyed buzz louder than any Broadway production in memory.

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The opening date is slated for March 15, although the show may be shut down temporarily for tweaks. It seems the producers will not be including their resident genius in the changes. (Ms. Taymor won the MacArthur Fellowship "genius" award in 1991 for her theater work.)

No mere hired hand, Ms. Taymor championed the comic book adaptation from the earliest stages and for the past nine years has poured herself into its realization, from directing all the way down to designing its masks.

What went wrong? It was so high-concept, there seemed to be no way the show could fail. Music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of the rock band U2 (who recruited Ms. Taymor to direct the show in the first place). A book by Ms. Taymor herself (with Glen Berger). Critics have panned the music, the story, and the dialogue, noting that the much-ballyhooed $65 million price tag (the most expensive ever staged on Broadway) has been mostly been sunk into the stage design and hydraulics.

So far, Spider-Man has not been able to buy its way out of its problems. Time will tell if getting rid of its lifeblood, Ms. Taymor, is the right answer.

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