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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

question of the day: If they asked you, would you be willing to replace Julie Taymor as director of ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’?

Today’s question comes from reader Bruce. First, some background, via The Daily Beast:

Julie Taymor to Leave Spider-Man

The stars of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark are rallying around Julie Taymor, but it may be too late: Taymor is out as director of the troubled show. Now, the show, which after five delays was supposed to open March 15, will shut down preview performance for two or three weeks as producers overhaul it, according to both the Daily News and The New York Times. The new official opening is at least three months off. A new creative has been hired, including an acclaimed playwright and comics writer to re-write the book, a musical consultant and a sound designer.

That’s the Broadway musical version of Spider-Man that has been plagued with problems, including injuries resulting from the dramatic stuntwork. In February, New York’s theater critics decided to break the review embargo out of frustration with the constant delays; the reviews were not pretty (via PopWatch):

“Spider-Man is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.” –Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Julie Taymor’s $65-million, accident-prone production, featuring an erratic score by U2’s Bono and The Edge, is a teetering colossus that can’t find its bearings as a circus spectacle or as a rock musical.” — Charles McNulty, The Los Angeles Times

“[The] story… is sketchy and ill-formed. Some of the dialogue, by Taymor and Glen Berger, seems ad-libbed on the spot and there are a couple of big holes in the story.” — Steven Suskin, Variety

“[A]n underwhelming score is the least of the show’s worries. What really sinks it is the borderline incoherence of its storytelling… For rubberneckers eager to see what the fuss is about, there may be enough noisy spectacle here to convince them they’ve seen something. But when this amount of time and money is tossed at a show, even demanding theatergoers should be awed, not bored.” — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“The 8-year-old boys in the audience might be able to key on the Cirque du Soleil-style stunts on wires and video-game graphic elements, and probably not worry too much that Spider-Man is a tangle of disjointed concepts, scenes and musical sequences that suggests its more appropriate home would be off a highway in Orlando. Come to think of it, the optimal audience might be non-English-speaking.” — Peter Marks, The Washington Post

“The second act, taken all in all, is basically how I’ve always imagined the Björk–Matthew Barney honeymoon: lots of atavistic rock-moaning, lots of 40-story phallic symbols, lots of bees.” — Scott Brown, New York Magazine

So, from Bruce:

If they asked you, would you be willing to replace Julie Taymor as director of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark?

Bruce adds:

A classic conundrum: risk being known as the fool who agreed to take over as captain of the Titanic in mid-sink or, if you succeed in turning the $65 million debacle around, become the greatest savior in show biz history.


Your readers always have something thoughtful, interesting or fun to say.

You’re on the spot. Have fun.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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