Just for the record, I usually adore the work of director Julie Taymor. The Lion King was a huge Broadway hit simply because of her inventive use of puppets in bringing Disney's animated musical version of Hamlet to the live stage.
And her films are usually wonderful. Titus, her satirical take on Shakespeare's ridiculous Roman tragedy is simply brilliant and hilarious. Then there's Frida, the biopic of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, starring Selma Hyack. And the outrageous, Beatles-inspired Across the Universe, a psychadelic story of a musician in the 60's. All of them are visually striking and interesting films.
But, when word came out late last year that Taymor and U2's Bono and The Edge were collaborating on a stage musical based on the Marvel Comics superstar superhero Spider-Man, I could barely contain my instant hatred of the idea. To date, there have only really been two successful comics-inspired musicals: Annie and L'il Abner, both of which are just atrocious. There was also a terrible Superman musical, It's a Bird.. It's a Plane... It's Superman, which was adapted by ABC into an atrocious TV movie in 1975., starring Leslie Ann Warren as Lois Lane.
Anyway, the Broadway version of Spider-Man (Entitled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) was supposed to star Universe star Rachel Evan Wood as Mary Jane and Titus/X2 star Alan Cumming as the Green Goblin. It was reportedly budgeted at... are you ready?... Really?... Because it's just ridiculous... $45 Million! Yes, you read that correctly. Forty-five million U.S. Dollars. That meant that the show would have to sell every seat in the Hilton Theatre for five years, just to break even!
Now sadly, in recent years Broadway has fallen into a Hollywood trap (I blame The Phantom of the Opera and Taymor's Lion King) of over-bloated spectacles in the likes of Mary Poppins, Wicked and Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang.
Upon news of this ridiculous idea, I immediately went insane. I mean, honestly, what the frig were all parties involved thinking? There was no way in hell that this was a good idea. And apparently, the backers think so too. According to both Variety and the New York Post, production has been halted on the extravaganza due to lack of funding. And all I can say is "Thank goodness common sense has prevailed."
Maybe now Taymor can concentrate on her film adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which I hope you are all wise enough to know is the play which inspired both my signature and this blog's title.