Change is in the air for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” In the face of harsh critical response and mounting pressure on its creative team, the pricey tuner is facing a potential shut-down.
Insider sources reportedly told the New York Times that previews would be halted for up to three weeks to allow for major revisions and cast rehearsals. The temporary shut-down would be followed by a new round of previews. Opening night, as a result, could be pushed back as much as three months, lending credence to earlier industry speculation that the tuner’s big night might be delayed until June.
The shake-up could also extend to the wall-crawling musical’s creative team, namely director and co-writer Julie Taymor. The Times reported on recent meetings between show producers and co-creators to discuss “the composition of the artistic team going forward and…whether it would continue to include Ms. Taymor.”
A second report from the Times today, March 9, cited two anonymous members of the production’s creative team who were privy to the on-going discussions with Taymor. One was quoted as saying, “In a calmer moment, when she’s had time to take a breath and get some wise counsel, I think Julie may find a way to still be part of the production.”
Even before reports surfaced of Taymor’s apparent ousting as creative lead, media reports suggested a number of individuals were being considered as new creative team consultants, including comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. No formal announcements have yet been made, and representatives for the musical continue to report March 15 as the production’s opening night.
But even the current March 15 opening date is the production’s fifth delay.
On-going funding issues, late-breaking cast departures, and several serious on-set injuries all did their part in pushing back “Spider-Man’s” opening night. Because of the delays, many major publications chose to observe a previous February 7 opening date by releasing scathing critical reviews, both of the musical and Taymor.
“Spider-Man” has earned its reputation as the most expensive show in Broadway history, with The Wall Street Journal now estimating its cost at $70 million to $75 million.
The tuner also has the distinction of having the longest-ever preview period before opening night; the 100th preview is scheduled for tonight, pending any formal production announcements.