Robot 6

Details surface of sweeping changes to Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark"

A post-Julie Taymor Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will likely be a radically changed show, with many of the director’s trademark elements altered or removed, multiple outlets report.

Among the rumored revisions are the strengthening of the love story between Peter Parker and Mary Jane, said to have been a point of contention between Taymor and some cast members, the loss of the widely panned “Deeply Furious” number, and a clarification of the Green Goblin’s story arc (he dies in Act I only to reappear in Act II). But perhaps most notable are the plans for Arachne, the eight-legged villainess created by Taymor in 2002. The character, who dominates the second act, will see her scenes reduced or cut entirely, Bloomberg reports.

The details surfaced today, less than 24 hours after producers finally announced what many had expected for some time: that the beleagured director would leave and the critically savaged musical shut down for two weeks to undergo a massive overhaul. Philip William McKinley (The Boy From Oz) was brought in as Taymor’s replacement to work with an expanded creative team that includes composers Bono and The Edge, musical consultant Paul Bogaev, playwright and comics writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and sound designer Peter Hylenski. Opening night, most recently scheduled for March 15, will be delayed for a sixth time, to early summer.

Although lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris insist that Taymor, who’s shepherded Spider-Man for nine years, is stepping aside because of scheduling conflicts, it’s widely reported she was forced out after she refused to make significant changes to the show. According to The New York Times, Taymor will still be billed as the show’s director and a script writer.

The New York Post’s Michael Riedel writes that Bono, who’s been largely absent in recent months, is spearheading the changes to the $65 million production and apparently played a central role in Taymor’s departure. He and The Edge will write at least two new songs as part of the overhaul — Broadway World contends it will be as many as four — including one for the start of Act II and another that may replace “Deeply Furious,” a number in which Arachne and her minions shop for shoes, said to be one of Taymor’s favorites.

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16 Comments

Someone’s going to write a really fascinating book about the production of this play one day.

Shoes?
A number about buying shoes?
*sigh*

““Deeply Furious,” a number in which Arachne and her minions shop for shoes, said to be one of Taymor’s favorites.”

That sounds terrible. I can see why this thing tanked.

Well thats what happens when you suck at something so much that absolutely no one likes it… at all… ever… under any circumstance. But seriously, this thing has become a giant money put, i’d personally just shut it down. In fact i would have shut it down after reading the script, or after seeing the visual direction, actually i’d have shut it down everyime the director opened her mouth to add a “new idea.”

I kept having my friend explain the song about shoes to me. He would and I’d just end up asking once again “There’s a song about shoes?”

We’ve talked a lot about this and while I haven’t seen it, I kind of respect what Taymor was trying to do. I just think Spider-Man was the wrong thing to do it with. I think playing up the mythic qualities of superheroes is fine, but I think she went about it without really understanding why people like Spider-Man in the first place. Her take was maybe interesting on paper but didn’t work on stage and not what people wanted to see when they were seeing a musical about Spider-Man.

I don’t know if these changes will save it, but I don’t think it can get much worse.

@Eden: Nope, Taymor is just a horrible writer. I dont know why she thought that she could write a script. She’s never shown any talent for it in the past & she just thought she could up and write a best seller, blockbuster script. Everything i hear about Taymor screams “Prima Donna DEVA.”

The main problem seemed to th be that instead of making something good, she focused on trying to reinvent all theatre as she went & it failed. The greatest failure was Taymors inability to take advice from outsiders, to her “masterpiece.” There were all these people offering advice & she not only failed to listen, she refused to show up at meetings, because “she knoew what was best.”

It was her own Ego that sunk this, nothing more nothing less. This play could have been great & a launch board for respectiablity for comics, but instead it just became a playground for someone who had no idea what they were doing. An because of that its unlikely that we will ever see a broadway superhero play done again in our life time.

An to be blatantly honest, i think this play should change its name to “TAYMOR: turn off the Career,” because this will be it for her.

Hopefully they’ll get rid of the campiness and the horrendous costumes (especially the Daily Bugle staff and all of the super-villains). The scene where the newly-powered Peter wrestles with a huge, cartoony, plastic blow-up doll of Crusher Hogan was cringe-worthy. And the awful “BAM!” “POW!” “SPLATT!” word balloons that kept popping up had me sinking in my seat. If I wanted to see an episode of the Adam West Batman TV show I could’ve just rented a DVD. (Although the guy playing the Green Goblin did a great take on Caesar Romero’s Joker… ugh!) It was painfully obvious that Taymor knew nothing about Spider-Man except what was in the first movie… and she didn’t even get some of those details right. Uncle Ben killed by a hit-and-run driver?

This, and all about a character who can hardly pay rent. I’m sure Spidey is like, “Really the movies were not bad enough for you people, you could’ve used that money for something useful…like rebuild Haiti…they are eating dirt pies down there” As Spidey swings off to stop Doc Octopus from some insane plan he’s thinking in the back of his head, “So glad I don’t live in that universe…thats a depressing world…not even Spidey Strength could save them!” Yay, Bono might save this 65 million dollar talent show…hey wasn’t he fighting against wasteful spending to help save starving people or something like that? At the end of this crappy idea, the crap movies and crap raping of a concept that no other medium will ever live up to except the original source material will always be the gold. If people wanna enjoy the characters get the comic, the art, the writing and your imagination will always be the best. Alan Moore’s curse must’ve trickled on Taymor. I still meet people who are like, “Feh, the watchman movie sucked…why would I read the book” Kids who are like, “I saw the Dr. Suess movie…and I play the video game…I read up down A button A button”
Some material is perfect for that particular medium and thats it, thats what it was designed for let be there for future generations.

By this point nothing short of fire can salvage this mess, at least if it all burns we can use the flames for marshmallows or something.

Honestly I can’t believe this concept got this far.

The only person they need to hire is Jack Kevorkian so someone can finally pull the plug on this soup sandwich.

New York Theater Watcher

March 11, 2011 at 7:23 am

I’ll admit I found this by someone forwarding it, but I’m a bit surprised. Out of curiosity, how many people on the board ripping it a new one, have actually seen it?

I sat through it with my in-laws and a pair of nieces and nephews. Was it perfect? No. The Geek Chorus got tiresome, there were few musical songs/lyrics that stuck in your head (versus the wailing of guitars that I assume Bono contributed), and the second Act felt like it was missing an ending. The other points mentioned in the above article were certainly valid. I don’t remember Deeply Furious as being that cringe-worthy, and the costumes may seem outlandish, but when you’re in the balcony in a pretty big dark theater, I didn’t find them that over-the-top. We ARE watching a Musical based on a Superhero who runs around in red and blue spandex after all, what are you expecting, Le Miserables?

the changes can only wind up either transforming this train wreck into something new or make it worse. though given all the changes odds are the new masters may have found the key to make spider man turn off the dark the musical it should be.

@New York Theater Watcher: This is the exact problem. Do you have any idea why Spider-Man runs around in blue and red spandex? You make this statement as if it explains why we, the comic book readers, should not expect Les Miserables (which I have seen). We do expect this to be as good as Les Mis. There is no reason why this story cannot be as compelling as the story of Jean Valjean and his struggle for redemption. This is about Peter Parker and his struggle for acceptance of his power/responsibility) and his hope for the world to accept him. Taymor’s ignorance of 70 years of compelling story telling is what doomed this under her direction. Hopefully, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa a man who knows comics and playwriting, can pull this from the fire. By the way, he wears the spandex in order to hide his identity, as he is afraid that more of his friends and family could be murdered if anyone were to recognize him.

“If I wanted to see an episode of the Adam West Batman TV show I could’ve just rented a DVD.”

I suppose it’s beside the point to mention that the Adam West Batman show isn’t available, officially, on DVD?

Times Square Tourist

April 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm

We saw the play mid-April. The Geek Chorus added nothing, the wrestling scene mentioned above is silly, the whole second act drags, the ending is abrupt and songs are forgettable. However, the stunts are really cool and exciting.
We were in the theater almost 3 hours and I think they could cut 30 minutes or more without losing anything and gaining more energy. I think they could lose the spider lady completely and focus on Green Goblin and also gain some time and make the show’s pace smoother.
Oh, yeah….the night we were there, there was a technical problem just before the final scene. An announcement was made that they had to stop the play a few minutes until they worked a technical glitch out. All action on stage stopped, the house lights came on, and after five minutes or so, the show went on.

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