Days after the official opening of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, director Julie Taymor spoke candidly at a conference of theater professionals about the challenges that led her to leave the show in March. According to the New York Times, Taymor pointed a finger at the show’s producers for using focus group testing to tweak the show after a round of scathing early reviews in February. “It’s very scary if people are going more towards that, to have audiences tell you how to make a show,” she told an audience at the national conference of the Theatre Communications Group in L.A. on Saturday. “Shakespeare would have been appalled.”
Taymor also voiced concern over the power of Twitter and other new media outlets to deliver a verdict on a show before it officially opens. Spider-Man was the target of bad buzz for months preceding its opening, as a ballooning $70 million budget and a series of delays and on-stage accidents turned the show into a punching bag for critics and comedians. Although Taymor was replaced by director Philip Wm. McKinley in March, she still attended Spider-Man’s official premiere last week and was photographed hugging Bono and the Edge of U2, who composed the show’s music and helped re-imagine the musical after Taymor’s departure.