Julie Taymor on ‘Spider-Man’ musical: ‘My trial by fire’

Julie Taymor took a break from her non-stop work on the still-previewing Broadway musical “Turn Off the Dark” to jet west to speak at the annual TED conference of creative types. Referencing the ongoing troubles of the tuner, the Tony-winning helmer (“The Lion King”) admitted, “Anyone who creates knows when it’s not quite there. Where it hasn’t quite become the phoenix or the burnt char. And I am right there.”

Recounting a time when she trekked to a volcano’s edge in Indonesia, Taymor revealed, “I am in the crucible right now. It is my trial by fire. It’s my company’s trial by fire. We have survived because our theme song is ‘Rise Above.’” And referring to her work with U2‘s Bono and The Edge, who penned tunes for their first Broadway musical, she said, “I have beautiful collaborators. We as collaborators only get there all together. I know you understand that. You stay there going forward and you see this extraordinary thing right in front of your eyes.”

An announcement is expected by week’s end as to whether the show will open on March 15 or be postponed yet again. This new musical began previews at the Foxwood Theater on Nov. 28. The opening was first set for Dec. 21 and then, after disastrous early performance which resulted in four castmembers being injured, was pushed back first to Jan. 11 and then to Feb. 7.

The leading critics weighed in with their opinions on that latter date. They savaged the show. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times judged it to be, “a teetering colossus that can’t find its bearings as a circus spectacle or as a rock musical.” And for Ben Brantley of the New York Times, “this was not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway, it may also rank among the worst.”

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