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Julie Taymor to Leave ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ Musical

Director Julie Taymor will leave Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, according to New York City’s NY1. If that weren’t traumatic enough for the hopelessly beleaguered Broadway musical based on the Marvel superhero, sources indicated that the show will now open in June, rather than next Tuesday (which will scuttle the production’s chances for a 2011 Tony Award that it probably had little chance of winning anyway). The development is reportedly seen as a tremendous embarrassment to everyone involved.Prompted by a New York Times piece that suggested Taymor and Turn Off the Dark producers were debating extensive creative changes to the musical, which she co-authored with Bono and the Edge of U2, ComicsAlliance published yesterday a Spider-Man timeline of tears that demonstrated this production’s consistent pattern of failure on virtually every level, from dreadful reviews and the maiming of performers. The obvious conclusion was that Taymor would have to savagely alter what has apparently been her pure vision of the musical or leave the production, whether amicably or in J. Jonah Jameson’s “Parker, you FIRED!”-style. It is unknown which route the parties took, but the deed appears to be done.

“We’re hearing that she is out of the production and whether that means she’s been fired or she decided to quit that’s still up in the air,” said NY1 “On Stage” producer Frank DiLella. “But, you know, this is a huge blow for her reputation. She’s an incredible talent, well known both here on Broadway and on film, as well as in the opera world, so she’s a significant presence for the art community and for her to be removed from a production is a very big deal.”

For some reason, NY1 approached random New Yorkers for their thoughts on the subject, which we would normally dismiss if they weren’t so darkly funny and sadly true.

“I think the amount of money that’s been spent on this musical is obscene,” said another. “The whole thing is ridiculous. With the number of injuries, it’s just nonsense. Money should be spent feeding the homeless, taking care of the city. It’s a reflection of our culture and it’s an outrage.”

Producers are reportedly seeking a replacement for Julie Taymor, who prior to this calamitous Spider-Man musical was regarded as the most singularly talented theatre director in decades. Her work bringing Disney’s The Lion King to Broadway was truly visionary, and her feature films, while not always well reviewed, have attracted the highest calibre of actors and are plainly gorgeous with respect to visuals. Indeed, Turn Off the Dark’s aesthetics and unusually spectacular stunts (when they work) are among the very few things about which audiences and critics have expressed anything positive.

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