The producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” are planning a significant overhaul of the $65 million Broadway musical that would involve shutting down performances for two to three weeks, as well as delaying its scheduled opening on March 15 for about three months, according to people who work on “Spider-Man” or were briefed on the producers’ plans.
The precise dates for the shutdown — needed to give the cast a break and to hold new rehearsals — have not been set, but they are expected to cover late April and early May, the people said. They spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because the producers were working on the details and wanted to disclose the plans themselves. An official announcement was expected this week.
The new opening night was also not clear as of late Tuesday; a shift to a time around the Tony Awards, which are June 12, could prove controversial among Broadway producers who are bothered by the media and public interest that has focused on “Spider-Man” instead of their shows. “Spider-Man” has been among the highest-grossing shows on Broadway since beginning preview performances on Nov. 28, taking in $1.28 million last week.
Who would oversee the creative changes has been an open question. The producers on Tuesday continued negotiating with their director, Julie Taymor, and her fellow creators, U2’s Bono and the Edge, about the composition of the artistic team going forward and about whether it would continue to include Ms. Taymor, according to the people briefed on the producers’ planning.
The musical’s press representative, Rick Miramontez, said on Tuesday, “Opening night remains scheduled for March 15.”
An official start in June would be the sixth delay to the opening of “Spider-Man” in the show’s long history, which began in 2002, when Marvel Entertainment reached out to the Broadway producer Tony Adams (“Victor/Victoria”) about developing a musical. The endeavor has survived Mr. Adams’s death in 2005, a near-bankruptcy in 2009 and a number of technical challenges involving its aerial stunts, which contributed to injuries involving four performers during the fall and winter and led to several findings of state and federal safety code violations.
“Spider-Man” completed its 99th preview performance on Tuesday night, more than any other show in history; it is also twice as expensive as the next big-budget Broadway show, “Shrek the Musical.”
No one has worked on “Spider-Man” more intensely than Ms. Taymor, who is its director, one of its script writers, its mask designer and far and away its chief creative force. But the producers have concluded that the show needs fresh eyes and ideas to improve in light of sharply negative reviews from most of the nation’s theater critics last month. The producers have asked Ms. Taymor to work with new collaborators or face another resolution, possibly even leaving.
The producers have reached out to at least two Broadway musical directors, Christopher Ashley (a Tony Award nominee for “Memphis” and “The Rocky Horror Show”) and Philip William McKinley (“The Boy From Oz”), about coming aboard, the people said.