The cast of "Spider-Man" met Thursday with Actors' Equity Association to discuss the snake-bit show's situation, air their grievances and determine whether the producers can force them to rehearse indefinitely, with no set opening date.
With significant input from U2’s Bono and The Edge, the book and score will be overhauled and the show will be shuttered in mid-April for rehearsals.
But was pushing Tony-awarding winning director Julie Taymor – who spent nearly a decade working on the project -- out of “Spider-Man” the best thing for the show?
The production needs a fresh pair of eyes, but short of revamping the entire show, which is impossible, it will continue to be a Taymor creation. While she is certainly responsible for putting “Spidey” in such a mess, she may be the only one who could make it work. And what of the creative team and cast members who remain loyal to her? Will there be backstage civil war?
Moreover, critics aren’t the only ones who dislike “Spider-Man.” The theater community as a whole can’t stand it anymore. Rival producers are fuming over the fact that “Spider-Man” has received more news coverage than all other new shows combined.
What’s next for Taymor?
In a press release announcing the departure of Taymor it was noted that she had “previous commitments” after March 15th, which was slated as the opening day after five previous delays. But we have our doubts about that.
She’s certainly not busy on Broadway. No producer in their right mind would trust her with another commercial enterprise. Perhaps the Metropolitan Opera, where her staging of “The Magic Flute” has become a perennial favorite. Disney has made plenty of dough on her production of “The Lion King,” but don’t expect a Taymor-helmed show of “Pocahontas.”
She should retreat to a downtown experimental theater company and work on a shoestring budget to bring her down to earth.
Among the changes needed to improve the $65 million production:
• Come up with a better Act Two with opening number.
• Cut "Deeply Furious," a campy production number in which spiders shop for shoes.
• Diminish the role of Arachne, a mythological female villain.
• Make the story more coherent and the songs more exciting.