As show producers work to untangle the web surrounding Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” two things are certain: Julie Taymor is out and so is the production’s scheduled March 15 opening.
Official word of the shake-up came from producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris late yesterday, March 9. After months of turmoil for the production and weeks of insider leaks to the media, the announcement did not come as a surprise.
Replacing Taymor are director Phillip William McKinley, who previously helmed the Tony-winning “The Boy From Oz,” and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, whose credits include several Marvel Comics serials and HBO’s “Big Love.”
Opening night has been pushed to “early summer 2011,” though an exact date has not been set. This marks the sixth production delay for “Spider-Man,” which began previews in November 2010 and staged its 100th preview earlier this week.
“Julie Taymor is not leaving the creative team. Her vision has been at the heart of this production since its inception and will continue to be so,” Cohl and Harris’ statement read, in part. “Julie’s previous commitments mean that past March 15th, she cannot work the 24/7 necessary to make the changes in the production in order to be ready for our opening.”
The producers continued, “We cannot exaggerate how technically difficult it is to make such changes to a show of this complexity… Phil [McKinley] is hugely experienced with productions of this scale and is exactly what ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ needs right now.”
Music contributors Bono and The Edge added to the official statement: “We are listening and learning and, as a result, we have a couple of new songs we are very, very excited about putting into the mix. All of us on the creative team are committed to taking ‘Spider-Man’ to the next level. We are confident it will reach its full potential and when it does, it will open.”
The new creative team and opening night delay will allow for a script rewrite and also provide ample rehearsal time for the new material before “Spider-Man” has its official first bow on the Great White Way. The extent of the overhaul is unknown, though the Daily News reported that the team may plan to “start from scratch.”
Despite earlier reports that the musical would freeze previews for several weeks to make the needed revisions, tickets are still on sale through Ticketmaster.com through October 2. The moderator of the “Spider-Man” Facebook page has also been advising fans that all preview performances will go on as scheduled.
Capitalization costs for “Spider-Man” have reached an estimated $65 million, though the Wall Street Journal most recently suggested the number could balloon to $75 million with any additional production delays.
The full announcement regarding the creative team changes and production postponement is available on the official Web site for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”