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Arts & Culture

Christopher Ashley Will Not Save Spider-Man

According to a spokesperson for the La Jolla Playhouse, LJP artistic director Christopher Ashley is not replacing director Julie Taymor on the Broadway boondoggle that is "Spider-Man: Turn Out The Lights."

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Ashley is one of two musical directors to receive a call from producers of show. Taymor is said to be leaving as producers look to overhaul a production plagued by injuries to actors, bad press, and, well, one disaster after another.

The Playhouse could not confirm that Ashley received such a call from producers.


"Spider-Man" was co-created by Taymor and U2 musicians Bono and The Edge. To date, the production cost $65 million and has had 99 preview performances, the most in Broadway history. When Taymor does leave, the show will likely go dark for a period while the new director makes changes.

Theater critic Ben Brantley of the New York Times broke etiquette last month by reviewing the "Spider-Man" while it's still in previews. To say he disliked it would be generous.

One wonders if Ashley took Brantley's words to heart since the review included the following: "...from what I saw on Saturday night, “Spider-Man” is so grievously broken in every respect that it is beyond repair."

Ashley directed the Tony Award-winning musical "Memphis." It's not unusual for an artistic director to take directing jobs for other companies. Ashley just finished directing a production of "Xanadu" in Australia and will be working at Williamstown Theater Festival this summer.