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Taymor Seeks to Make SPIDER-MAN the Next LION KING

Today, Julie Taymor was honored by New Dramatists for a Lifetime of Acheivement at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in Times Square.  A topic the director couldn't avoid, according to the New York Times: the status of the upcoming SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off the Dark musical, which has experienced significant delays and cast changes due to a large finaincial fall out last fall.

At the luncheon in her honor, Taymor acknowledged the need for SPIDER-MAN to be a hit of LION KING proportions in order to recoup the steep $50M budget set by the producers.  Taymor expressed that she was "responsible to the budget that the producers set, based on what kind of show they want." She continued: "That's my responsibility as an artist. I'm not doing this for a small audience; I'm doing it for a world audience."

As for the negative internet chatter about the show, Taymor is cavallier. "What I've learned is that the Internet has its pluses and minuses...But keep three things in mind: No, 1, all of the money that goes into this show will employ a lot of artists, actors, technician, designers, make-up people, dancers; No. 2, the audience won't get rooked, so they shouldn't be complaining, because they'll be paying about the same as they would for a two-character, one-set production; and No. 3, it's ‘Spider-Man'! Would you want to create a show with modest expectations?...If we're the behemoth that some people think we are," she added, "well, let's ignore it, go on, and create something special."

SPIDER-MAN was scheduled to begin previews on February 25, 2010. Financial troubles and a makeover of the producing team has delayed the opening to an undetermined date next season. Auditions for the role of Mary Jane Watson (formerly held by Evan Rachel Wood) and for the ensemble were held in April. The production's home will remain at the Hilton Theatre.

Michael Cohl is joined by Jeremiah J. Harris HELLO Entertainment/David Garfinkle, Marvel Entertainment/David Maisel, and Sony Pictures Entertainment on the producing team. 

After an exhaustive search that included a casting call tour spanning six cities and thousands of candidates, the producers and creative team selected Reeve Carney to play the role of Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man.

Reeve is the lead singer of Carney, the hot up and coming rock band whose newest single "Love Me Chase Me" was recently released. The band's first full length album, entitled Mr. Green, was released on May 11, 2010 on Interscope Records. Reeve's acting credits include Julie Taymor's upcoming film version of The Tempest and the film version of the acclaimed novel Snow Falling on Cedars.

Bono and The Edge, who have written the music and lyrics for the production said, "Our ambition was to find a Peter Parker who could really act and sing, but who still brings a kind of performance that could be new to Broadway audiences. We wanted something a little more authentically rock and roll. Reeve is everything we could have hoped for: an amazing voice and a truly charismatic presence."

Drawing from over 40 years of Marvel comic books for inspiration, SPIDER-MAN spins a new take on the mythic tale of a young man propelled from a modest rowhouse in Queens to the sky-scraping spire of the Chrysler Building, the bustling offices of the Daily Bugle, through the dizzying canyons of Manhattan, to new vistas never before seen. The musical follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose unremarkable life is turned upside-down literally when he's bitten by a genetically altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to his bedroom ceiling. This bullied science-geek suddenly endowed with astonishing powers soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility as villains test not only his physical strength but also his strength of character. Spider-Man's battles will hurtle the audience through an origin story both recognizable and unexpected yielding new characters as well as familiar faces until a final surprising confrontation casts a startling new light on this hero's journey.

SPIDER-MAN features music and lyrics by 22-time Grammy® Award-winners Bono and The Edge of U2 with direction by Tony® Award-winner Julie Taymor (The Tempest, Across The Universe, The Lion King). SPIDER-MAN is written by Julie Taymor and GLen berger (Underneath The Lintel). The principal creative and design team for SPIDER-MAN includes Daniel Ezralow, Choreographer (Across the Universe, The Green Bird); George Tsypin, Sets (The Magic Flute, The Little Mermaid); Eiko Ishioka, Costumes (Academy Award® for Bram Stoker's Dracula, Tony Award® nomination for M. Butterfly, the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics); Donald Holder, Lighting (Tony® Awards for The Lion King, South Pacific); Jonathan Deans, Sound (Fosse, The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, Young Frankenstein); and Teese Gohl, Musical Supervisor (Across the Universe, Frida). Additional members of the SPIDER-MAN creative team will be announced at a later date.



Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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