NEW YORK (Reuters) - Producers of the $65 million Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” delayed its official opening again on Wednesday, and hired a new team to relieve director Julie Taymor of day-to-day duties.
The show, which is the most expensive in Broadway history, was created by “Lion King” visionary Taymor with music written by U2’s Bono and The Edge. Its debut already has been postponed five times after it suffered cost overruns and actors were injured during preview performances.
Producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said in a statement that the production’s opening would be rescheduled from March 15 “to an evening in the early summer, 2011.”
Philip William McKinley and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa were brought on board to “help implement new staging and book rewrites, respectively,” the producers said. Paul Bogaev and Peter Hylenski are now on board to rework music and sound.
“Julie Taymor is not leaving the creative team,” they said. “Julie’s previous commitments mean that past March 15th, she cannot work the (daily) 24/7 necessary to make the changes in the production in order to be ready for our opening.”
Bono and The Edge called Taymor “a truly gifted and imaginative director.”
Still, the departure is a setback for the director behind the spectacular reinterpretation of Disney’s hit “Lion King.” Her imaginative flair has not translated as easily to the big screen, where her Beatle-themed romance “Across the Universe” and “The Tempest” have failed to ignite box offices.
On Broadway, “Spider-Man” will continue to be fine-tuned in preview performances, where it has been able to lure fans despite being panned by some critics who wrote reviews before officially opened.
“Spider-Man” took in $1.28 million last week at box offices, for instance, as tourists and others flock to the spectacle. But critics have had a field day lambasting the stunt-packed tale of a crime-fighting teenager with the superpowers of a spider.
The New York Times concluded the musical was “so grievously broken that it is beyond repair.” The New York Daily News labeled it “Dead on Arrival.”
In December, a stuntman was injured when he fell from a high platform on the stage, and one actress suffered a concussion when she was hit by a rope while offstage.
The injuries caused safety and health officials to order the show’s producers to implement new safety rules.
Reporting by Christine Kearney and Bob Tourtellotte, editing by Patricia Reaney