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Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark: Now With More Julius Caesar!

In a nod to the highest traditions of theatrical drama, the producers of

Spider-Man

: The Musical About Spider-Man announced yesterday that March 15—which was the fifth supposed opening date for the ever-delayed show—is now instead the date on which hubris-befogged director

Julie Taymor

will be knifed in favor of a “new artistic team.” Beware the Ides of March!

Officially, Taymor is not being replaced, but is merely scaling back her own time commitment and accepting some help, because the process of reworking the show is taking so very long (because Taymor’s original version needs so very much reworking). The new opening date is still unspecified. Also the Wall Street Journal has taken the step of upgrading the show’s descriptor from the familiar “$65 million” to "$70 million-plus.”

According to Bloomberg, the rescue squad will be giving Taymor’s onstage alter ego, a mythological-esque spider-villainess named

Arachne

, the same treatment the director is getting: she will be “minimized or cut entirely”:

“Deeply Furious,” a musical number in which Arachne and her accomplices go shopping for shoes, will be cut, despite the fact that it is reputedly one of Taymor’s favorites.

(“Despite the fact” seems like maybe not a completely correct description of the reasoning behind the decision to eliminate Taymor’s favorite shoe-shopping sequence. But mostly, wow, et tu, Bloomberg?)

The musical just completed its 100th preview, or sort of completed it: Bloomberg noted that the ever-failing, sometimes-harmful flying equipment failed yet again, while Spider-Man fought the Green Goblin, “leaving the villain dangling over the heads of people sitting in the orchestra.”

This was the same point at which the musical broke down when the New York Times’

Ben Brantley

reviewed it last month, after the city’s theater critics decided that the endless string of previews, with ticket prices in the

hundreds of dollars

, amounted to a

common-law opening

:

[F]or the first time that night something like genuine pleasure spread through the house.

…All subsequent performances of “Spider-Man” should include at least one such moment.

And they said Taymor wasn’t sensitive to the concerns of the audience.