Mike Fleming

Broadway is rampant today with word that the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will finally get a much-needed overhaul. That’s expected to include the exit of Julie Taymor and a shutdown that will stretch several weeks to fix a book that led the $65 million musical to be pummeled by critics who reviewed it even though producers pushed back its opening date for the umpteenth time. Signs of an overhaul have been in the works for a while: Deadline told you first that the production was hiring playwright/Marvel Comics writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to put a little more Spidey lore into the production and Bono and The Edge have been tweaking their tunes. I’m told that an official announcement is expected by today or tomorrow. Both The New York Times and New York Post have mentioned Christopher Ashley as the likely replacement director. Shutting down the production is a tough break for a show which has been packing them in until recently, despite being in perpetual previews. They’ve managed to fix many of the bugs that led to injuries and safety violations while the show continued preview performances. But since Actors Equity doesn’t allow cast to rehearse for more than about five hours per week while they are performing, it has been impossible to do anything other than the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It will take down time to fix a book that has more than its share of wince-worthy moments. The show’s never going to soar with critics, but an actual improvement might enhance its appeal to the tourist crowd, which is probably its only hope at a long run.