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Is Julie Taymor going on the PR counteroffensive?

April 5, 2011 | 11:56 am

Taymor Julie Taymor may no longer occupy the director's seat on Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," but she apparently isn't about to ride quietly into the sunset. In recent days, colleagues who have collaborated with Taymor in the past have been stepping up to the plate and singing her praises in articles published in print and online.

The appearance of the testimonials in a relatively short time frame suggests a coordinated counteroffensive on the part of Taymor's publicity team. On Broadway, as in Hollywood, image counts as much as, if not more than, talent. And Taymor appears to be eager to rehabilitate her tarnished image as quickly as possible.

For those just tuning in, Taymor was pulled from "Spider-Man" last month following a barrage of negative reviews from critics around the country. The musical, with a price tag of $65 million and counting, has suffered from numerous delays, cast injuries and technical malfunctions.

The latest opening date is set for June 14 at New York's Foxwoods Theatre.

In a chat published in Interview magazine, actor Alfred Molina sits down with Taymor to talk about her career in theater and movies. The talk took place before Taymor was sacked from "Spider-Man" but after widespread criticism of the musical had begun. Molina, who appeared in Taymor's recent film adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," mostly avoids asking Taymor tough questions and instead lobs softballs about her creative process.

Actor Harry Lennix extols Taymor's virtues in a commentary piece in the Huffington Post, published Tuesday. Unlike Molina, Lennix (who starred in Taymor's stage and film productions of "Titus Andronicus") directly addresses the criticism being heaped on Taymor, stating, "I only hope the bullies have sated themselves for a time. It must be annoying having them nip so incessantly at one's ankles."

Joining the chorus of support is Jeffrey Horowitz, founding artistic director of Theatre for a New Audience, on whose board Taymor sits. In an opinion piece published this week in, he described "Spider-Man" as being "unlike anything I had ever seen or felt." At the same time, he admits that "like a dream, there were parts [of the musical] that I couldn't understand, but it really didn't matter. I surrendered to this strange and fabulous circus crossed with rock and roll, myth and a comic book."

It remains unclear what type of credit Taymor will receive for the new version of "Spider-Man," which is being retooled by director Philip William McKinley, with a revised book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. But producers have stated that she will no longer be involved in the day-to-day aspects of the show.


'Broadway's 'Spider-Man' sets new opening date for June 14Spiderman_2

Theater review: 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark'

Critic's Notebook: 'Spider-Man' caught in a web of its own making

Julie Taymor stepping aside from Broadway's 'Spider-Man'

Broadway's 'Spider-Man' finds replacement for injured actress who left show

-- David Ng

Photo: Julie Taymor. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press