‘Turn Off the Dark’ adds creative types and delays opening (again)

Looks like writer/director Julie Taymor is getting some much-needed help with the troubled tuner “Turn Off the Dark” after all. On Thursday, producers announced that “Philip William McKinley and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa have joined the creative team to help implement new staging and book rewrites, respectively.  McKinley has vast experience directing technically complex productions on Broadway [“The Boy From Oz”] and beyond. Aguirre-Sacasa is both an acclaimed playwright and a noted writer of Spider-Man comic books.”

In addition, “the expanded creative team also includes musical consultant Paul Bogaev (“Tarzan,” “Bombay Dreams,” “Aida,” “Sunset Boulevard”) and sound designer Peter Hylenski (“Elf,” “Scottsboro Boys,” “Rock of Ages,” “Shrek”), both of whom have already been working on improving the musical arrangements and sound quality (respectively) over the past few weeks, thereby vastly enhancing the audience experience.”

The announcment promises, “the team will be implementing a new plan to make significant and exciting revisions to the production.” All this means yet another delay in the opening which had been postponed for a fourth time to March 15. Now the date is left vauge, referred to only as “early summer, 2011.”

Reviewers savaged the show when they attended it in early February in anticipation of the last scheduled opening. With the official opening coming after the Tony Awards eligibility deadline of April 28, the show won’t be part of this season’s kudos.

As for the two-time Tony champ who worked on this project for years, lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said, “Julie Taymor is not leaving the creative team. Her vision has been at the heart of this production since its inception and will continue to be so. Julie’s previous commitments mean that past March 15th, she cannot work the 24/7 necessary to make the changes in the production in order to be ready for our opening.”

Tunesmiths Bono and The Edge added, “Julie is a truly gifted and imaginative director. This is an epic ride, and the standing ovations we have seen from the preview audiences have confirmed our absolute faith in the project. We are listening and learning and, as a result, we have a couple of new songs we are very very excited about putting into the mix. All of us on the creative team are committed to taking ‘Spider-Man’ to the next level. We are confident it will reach its full potential and when it does, it will open.”

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