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

by  in Comic News Comment
Details surface of sweeping changes to <i>Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark</i>

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.