‘Spider-Man’ Director May Face Her Own Exit

Producers of the long-delayed show are negotiating with Julie Taymor for her to accept help or possibly leave.

Comments: 78


  1. Hire Charlie Sheen to help.

  2. One more Broadway musical is a flop. Time to move on people.

  3. Enough with the 'comments'--The NY Times should stop inviting comments for every tidbit of news about this show. It is obvious The Times wants to stir things up. We get it, The Times doesn't want Spiderman and never will.

  4. Good luck Ms. Taymor.

  5. Spider-Man is NOT the record-holder for the most previews. LET MY PEOPLE COME played 128 previews in 1976 before closing without ever officially opening: http://ibdb.com/production.php?id=3851

    Spider-Man has exceeded the preview period of any show that has actually opened, but it remains to be seen which category Spider-Man fits into.

  6. This misbegotten monument to hubris was bound to fail, and fail spectacularly. The only thing left to see is whether Taymor will make a Mubarak exit or a Qaddafi one.

  7. Once again the line between artistic genius and egomaniacal idiot is drawn so fine it's now invisible -- like a silk thread spun from a spider.
    A black widow.

  8. Given the steady tide of disasters marking this production, my only question is, what took the producers so long?

  9. Let her leave! Bravo! More publicity for all the producers because the show is profiting from the stigmatization working for it since it started.

    This show is a textbook example of how greedy producers are willing to keep paying off the media and the behind the scenes personnel to keep the controversy in the spotlight. From the safety "rigging" lol.. to this director blurb.

    This show wins the Emmy award for the biggest comedy of errors and public relations mistakes and tricks in the publics short memory.The show sells out because no one ever lost money underestimating the stupidity of the american buying public.

  10. Maybe they'll pay me not to be an audience member...

  11. No. 7 and No. 8 say it all. It is way late for her to go and she won't leave unless they kick her out. E. G. O.

    Just because you are talented doesn't mean you always get it right. The biggest problem was that she thought she could write the script. Stick to the visuals, Julie, you know what you are doing there.

  12. OK, so let me get this straight. Now even the producers are admitting that there is trouble with the direction, the book, the music, the choreography, the arrangements and the vocals. Yet people are still buying tickets. Are these people so rich or so out of touch with reality (or both) that they continue to shell out massive dollars for a show that even those involved with it are admitting is a disaster? What is wrong with people?

  13. Where are all the folks who posted on the Feb 7 review condemning the Times because "it's gonna open on March 15"? And now they're talking about major overhauls, which will then be used to justify another two months' (at least) previews?

    Recognise a con when you see one, folks. The fundamental problem is not one that can be fixed with "overhauling" - there's simply no reason for this show to exist beyond the profit motive, and there never has been.

  14. The phoenix or the burnt char, oh we've all been there. Sure thing. How precious is her process artistique.

  15. So many wonderful things in the show. A strong editor working with Ms. Taymor would help in my view. Clean up the book; cut much extraneous and confusing material. A new score and lyrics would also help but not possible now.

    I hope it does open as I'd feel compelled to see the "final" version no matter the reviews.

  16. Ms. Taymor has a wonderful visual style. She has no story sense whatsoever. Never did.

  17. To Larry In Miami:

    Are you related to Ms. Taymor?

    The NYT has a superb Arts section, amongst others. Their charter is to cover and opine on the gamut of art, from highbrow to lowbrow. In this case, we're not talkin' Death of a Salesman.

    If this poisoned minestrone of theatrical entrails actually does open it will lose the only comparison it has to the Titanic - it will have survived they undeserved hype.

    Be happy that no lives were lost to this, um, Titanic flop.

  18. The NY Times theater critic should have withheld his criticisms until the show officially opened.

  19. Let her leave! Bravo! More publicity for all the producers because the show is profiting from the stigmatization working for it since it started.

    This show is a textbook example of greedy producers paying the media and the behind the scenes personnel to keep the controversy in the spotlight. From the safety "rigging" to this director blurb.

    This show wins the award for the biggest comedy of errors and public relations mistakes and tricks that sell overpriced seats.

  20. can the times somehow find a way to keep news of this fiasco at home? really, it is just too silly for regular fly-over america.

  21. Charlie Sheen? That's not a bad idea. Ticket sales would go through the roof and keep the show running for decades!

  22. Which part didn't you understand, the Buh or the Bye?

  23. It has been a difficult road. I wish Taymor well: she is a creative genius and the set and costumes for Spiderman are the most stunning I have ever seen in any production anywhere. I hope she will get the help she needs, not imposed by producers (who on this show clearly do not know what they are doing). She needs someone new to help fix the book (Tom Stoppard is my suggestion) and for Bono and the Edge to actually be present to fix the songs that are nearly there and make them relate more deeply to actual scenes in the play. Viva la Spiderman: you are a good morality play that needs to find its way.

  24. Aside from closing down this disaster, the next best solution would be to show Taymor the door!

    She's a one-shot wonder (Lion King) whose arrogance and recklessness has endangered lives. Yes, people would loose jobs if the show closed, but while waiting tables pays far less, it's safer.

    And those out-of-towners who want acrobatic thrills can go to the circus.

  25. Julie Taymor is a creative genius who may have been limited, in fact, by arriving at the ever more grand. See her Timon of Athens, and some of her enchanting early puppetry --- this is just the Peter Principal set to a grandiose theatrical level, and says more about the sad shape of Broadway than anything about Ms. Taymor. I hope she has a fine sabbatical, then returns to an appropriate stage for her good work.

  26. They should get the team behind The Spidey Project to do it . . . they've managed to put a show together in under a month for free! Haha.

  27. When you develop a project that's primarily designed to be a cash cow, as opposed to springing from an organically creative urge to tell a story, it's bound to fail.

  28. Oh, just close the show already and let Cirque du Soleil revamp it and open it in Vegas where it belongs.

  29. On March 1st three cast members from Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark performed on the David Letterman show. Normally when a Broadway show makes an appearance on a network TV program they perform their biggest crowd-pleaser -- uou have a golden four minutes in front of millions of people, so wow them!

    Did they? Unfortunately not. It was a strange hybrid of live singing accompanied by flashing background projections along with a single cellist (there was more music than the cello -- I don't know if it was canned or not). The song they sang is the slow depressing droning number that closes the first act. When I saw the show this number underwhelmed the theater audience -- and yet, they chose it to showcase the musical on network TV? It would have been a lot more fun (and probably would have sold a few tickets) if they showed the dancing girl-spiders number in their fancy high heels.

    Something is very wrong when no one there seems to understand how to present the show to a TV audience. The actors in the cast work so damn hard -- my heart breaks for them.

  30. Just how much abuse is the public willing to take from the people involved with Spiderman? Is paying top price for "rehearsal" tickets not enough? Is having the "opening" delayed time after time not enough? Is having the show considered one of the worst in history not enough? Are the numerous accidents not enough?

    To paraphrase Joseph N. Welch - May we not drop this? We know it should have been a great play. Let us not assassinate this story further. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

  31. Dare one send her off with 'break a leg?'

  32. Know when to ask for help...did Charlie teach us nothing?

  33. Heard Julie Taymor speak at the Oberlin commencement this past May and she was insufferable. She is utterly deluded so no surprise about Spiderman.

  34. "The current opening date, March 15, seems all but certain to fall, since by Monday night theater critics had not been invited to review it (normally invitations are sent about two weeks before)."

    Since many critics overstepped the mark and reviewed the show during the once-sacred preview process, perhaps the producers have followed their lead and eschewed typical theatre etiquette.

  35. After reading this breathless article, my first thought was, "It's just a Broadway show for cryin' out loud", not the end of the world.

  36. No way the sow's ear of "Spiderman" can be reconfigured as a silk purse. Toss the whole ball of wax and fuggedabout it. Isn't it amazing to think of what those $65,000,000 could have bought in education or rebuilding infrastructure around the US? Shameful and egregious and oh so sad, the pouring of so much dough into a flop. A colossal turkey.

  37. Ms. Taymor, essentially a one hit wonder, should never have been entrusted with such a production without the Disney company or some other competent management overseeing her. I hope they can bring in someone who can fix this mess as so much has been invested and many are counting on the jobs.

    Disney now owns the Marvel franchise as well as Pixar. They have a deep bench of talent and can probably fix this mess within weeks. Unfortunately, Taymor is damaging the Spiderman billion dollar franchise. I don't think Disney has a choice but to fix this or sue them to pull the plug on this Taymor/Bono disaster.

    Bob Iger better get involved or the Disney shareholders will take matters into their own hands.

  38. Give it up, will you, please.

  39. When will this show's producers realize it's time to cut the cord on this fiasco?

  40. Yeah, that's a great way to make art -- by committee.

  41. Is it time for Ms. Taymor to go? Sorry, that is the wrong question. The right question is what has taken so long for the producers to realize it was time for her to go? They should have had a clue when the show was so far behind its scheduled opening and the script was one item always called out as being a weak link (of course, the next question is when will Bono and Edge get the axe for their perfectly dreadful score). Bye Julie. I thought your work for Lion King was derivative and your work on Spider-Man among the worst I've seen on Broadway.

  42. Give up, already! This show is obviously a disaster. Why throw good money after bad?

  43. It is interesting that the creative team envisions productions of this show all around the world. Based on all the technical issues that cannot be ironed out in one theater, how could this show travel?

  44. This entire thing was a train wreck from the initial concept. It will never recoup any of its money, especially with Taymor at the helm.

  45. Why does tne New York Times persist, month after disaster-filled month, in reporting that this show cost $65 million? Surely, as Spider Man broke the record for preview runs, the budget has had to be adjusted. That budget will probably take another big hit if and when the producers buy out Ms. Taymor's contract...

  46. Gerry -
    I was able to get discount tickets for the show, and, despite all the negative reviews, I'm not dumb enough to make any judgements on a show without seeing it for myself. That said, I went to see Spiderman with the expectation that it would be a train wreck. I was surprised at how entertained I was - given, though, that I was laughing AT the show, not WITH the show.

    With an overhaul of the confusing script and cutting out unnecesssary characters/scenes, the show can be salvaged. But the horrible writing has to be fixed.

  47. Isn't all this communing with the muse and intellectualizing supposed to be done before you spend the 65 mill?

  48. This story is the gift that keeps on giving, and this is the best show I'll never, ever, see.

  49. To quote Mark Twain, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated"

  50. Winning!

  51. And Equity's insurance company is holding its breath ... Someone should have re-thought Ms Taymor long ago rather than throwing good money after bad.

    #20 in Alaska: Wow, the NYT has the budget and time to send people all the way up there to force you at gunpoint to click on the article?

    #3 in Miami, taking pot shots at the messenger won't change the news. "It is obvious the Times wants to stir things up"? It is obvious people are very interested in what happens, if only because of the outrageous price tag and the anticipation that there will be blood. Like it or not, whatever happens to Ms Taymor, the show is an Event.

  52. These Vegas hybrids are to theater what McDonalds is to cuisine. The producers want the legit theater cred to help sell their product, both here and in the 50 year running production in Abu Dhabi that they are aiming for. So they deserve all the sneer and ridicule they get. Like the crooks on Wall Street, they have the last laugh.

  53. Ms. Taymor needs to get over herself. Her pretentious lunatic "vision" has compromised the actors safety and is ruining whatever credibility this disaster has left in it. She should be shown the door, and soon -- hopefully to take a nice, long vacation far away from a Broadway stage.

  54. Ms. Taymor is a talent in many areas. What she simply needs, as now is being recognized by her producers, is a production partner to serve as a governor on her talents. Unfortunately, this only now is being recognized, after the expenditure of $65M--the question is, where is the breaking point?

  55. If this musical was a horse they'd shoot it.

  56. I'll bet the tension at rehearsals is thick enough to cut with a knife. I went through the same thing as a cast member of Via Galactica.

  57. The goal is to make a stable production that can run a long time and pay off, not to please all you picky snarky critics.

  58. They need to fire Taymor, close the show for revamping and get it together.

  59. Go for broke: cast Charlie Sheen as Spider-Man and see what happens next !!!! No director required; the stage manger can fill him in...

  60. I finally talked to someone that had actually seen this show last week.
    They verified there was much cut and paste & the story "went all over the place with no coherence or purpose..Then I saw the small scene on Letterman. Then I read this latest article in the NYT. Where are the publicity teams trying to sell tickets? You can bet from the aforementioned I won't be getting on a plane anytime soon.

  61. My family and i attended the preview where the poor guy fell off the stage.

    We saw 9/10ths of this awful show, and got our money back

    WINNING!

  62. Can the MacArthur Foundation get its money back?

  63. The only possible solution is to bring in the great Steve Ditko and Stan Lee and put them in absolute charge of the show. After all, they created Spidey--and obviously what they did worked!

  64. Taymor must have had one heck of a contract for her to have gotten this far without being fired: all of this is starting to smack of the horror stories we heard during the final days before the release of "Across the Universe", in which egos ran wild and there were specious claims of "artistic injury". Note to Ms. Taymor: ATU was just a movie, one that now shows up in the five dollar bin at WalMart. STOTD is just a show. Neither of these are the glorious contributions to our collective culture that you apparently style them to be. Just let go. Perhaps it's time for everyone involved -- her, Bono, the Edge (what kind of silly name is "the Edge", anyway?) -- to all take a few hundred steps back, show a little humilité, and let more capable hands finish this puppy off so it can open and then close.

  65. Most of us, when we wake up to go to work everyday, we expect to come home healthy, minus the job stress. As a performing musician, sure, I've encountered a few hazards: nearly falling off a stage, overly amorous club patrons, the argument that threatened to turn into a bar flight as I kept my eye on the back exit, muscle strain from lifting my gear, fatigue from playing clubs at night and having a day job. Being threatened by an angry student, having my office vandalized, temperamental colleagues arguing to the point of possible blows, wading in to work in knee deep nasty storm water, a classroom flood, and the like. But I have never had to deal with a backbreaking fall, dangerous stage scenery and flying rigs.

    Safe workplace laws protect even those who work in the Creative Economy. Someone created the condition to make the workplace (stage) unsafe for their employees (actors, musicians, theater techies). After the first accident, changes should have been made. Now the show has been cited and fined for numerous safety violations and unsafe conditions. The fall that left an actor with a broken back could very well have killed him or left him paralyzed. It's not just a matter of better harnesses and wires, cushioning in the trap below, etc., but a matter of someone with "creative vision" trying to bring to the theatrical stage the kind of students and effects that are more properly suited to movie making. Let alone the book and music. Maybe the producers are trying to hang on, because if the show can't make money with a regular run and the numerous road tours (COULD this show ever tour,with its burdensome stageworks?). At some point, common sense must return, and hard decisions be made.

    If the present director cannot figure out or have the common sense to figure out what changes need to be made, both to make the show a good one and a safe one, then perhaps another director will. While they are at it, maybe the producers should also fire the producer(s) who consistently gave the director the green light and kept throwing--as they say in business--good money after bad. Find a director who cares as much about the safety of the actors as his/her own visual artistic vision!

  66. What is truth? People say and do what suits them.

  67. Call in Roger DeBris !

  68. Of “Spider-Man,” she said in her speech: “Anyone who creates knows — when it’s not quite there..."

    Hopefully they know they're a long way from 'not quite there'.

  69. Grace has actually seen the show. Are there any others who have seen one of the 98 previews who can comment? As bad as advertised?

  70. Sounds more like a burnt car than a burnt char.

  71. A visual genius does not a compelling show make. Ms. Taymor's artistic strong-arming only succeeds when there is a structurally sound story to be told. Lion King had one. That dreary excuse for an opera that her husband wrote did not.

    The Empress has no clothes -- and no script...

  72. I have worked as an actor with Ms. Taymor twice. Once over 24 years ago, when she was a budding director and puppeteer, and then again during the development of the ill fated "Across the Universe." She always struck me as an incredibly talented visionary, but without a clue how to develop a cohesive story and characters you care about. She treats her actors as if they are props to be used and abused. She is terribly insecure (always asking for everyone's opinion and then not taking any of the criticism given). I know many actors who refuse to even audition for her, and after this latest disaster, many more actors will join in the boycott. From my own experiences working with Ms. Taymor, the state that "Spiderman..." finds itself in, does not surprise me. She is an over inflated puppeteer, not capable of creating an original story or mounting a successful new theatrical event. I am sad for my fellow performers whose livelihoods depend on this train wreck.

  73. Man, talk about people with more money (and hubris) than good sense...at least it's good for the local economy.

  74. I honestly hope they are able to bring some folks in to fix this show...it would be a shame for so many artists to end up unemployed in the current environment.

    Actually, I don't really think it matters either way as folks seem to be buying tickets en masse despite the critics' warnings. For the sake of the artists (excluding Ms. Taymor who I once admired by now sounds like an egomaniacal hack) I remain optimistic.

  75. It is Bono's fault. A musical requires memorable numbers. This show has loud music accompaniment and that's it. Technically and set-wise the show is quite excellent. Get rid of Bono and Edge and bring in people who know what a lyric and a melody is.

  76. We saw it back in December (it was supposed to have been a critic's preview for the second scheduled opening night). A glimpse or two of the customary Taymor stage magic in the first few minutes, but once the story kicked in, the evening lurched along so clumsily, it was ultimately numbing. Not completely awful in a camp sense (although the shoe number and aforementioned Geek chorus wandered close), just uninvolving, disjointed and honestly, quite boring. A lot of the action occurred offstage; you were told things happened as opposed to watching them unfold. Where's the fun in that? Even the occasional amazing stage picture wasn't enough because the narrative was so lacking in momentum. Almost every joke fell flat; you could smell the flop-sweat. The songs more often than not stopped the story dead(several cool musical riffs notwithstanding). To describe the applause following the songs as "obligatory" would be polite. The flying worked without incident, but it also felt perfunctory ("ok guys, now we're gonna use these expensive harnesses") and lacked the sense of wonder that even an amateur production of Peter Pan could muster. Where was all the $65 million spent? A couple of nice set pieces (although much of the set also looked disconcertingly flimsy). The vast majority of the audience stumbled home in a state of bewilderment and disappointment. That's my Spidey summary.

  77. The fact that the third act is alleged to revolve around a super-villain -- Arachne, whom Taymor created out of whole cloth -- shows a lack of respect for the source material that is obviously a major problem here. It's like all those terrible movies made from beloved TV shows, where the movie-makers decide, "it's just a TV show; we know how to make it better, the viewers who loved the original be damned!" As for the reports that the Spiderman songs also are dreadful -- I wonder if Bono or the Edge ever read a Spiderman comic in their young lives...