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Much-delayed Spider-Man show opens

Patrick Page, right, Jennifer Damiano and Reeve Carney appearing on stage at the curtain call for the opening night performance of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark in New York, on Tuesday. Photo: Charles Sykes/AP

Patrick Page, right, Jennifer Damiano and Reeve Carney appearing on stage at the curtain call for the opening night performance of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark in New York, on Tuesday. Photo: Charles Sykes/AP

Julie Taymor was welcomed back with open arms to the musical from which she was fired just three months ago, receiving a standing ovation and kisses from cast members, collaborators Bono and The Edge and the creative team after the curtain fell on opening night.

“I just want to thank everybody, especially the cast and crew, the musicians and this creative team that I got to work with for a long time,” Ms Taymor said from the stage.

Ms Taymor got the biggest cheers of anyone on stage and chants of “Julie! Julie!” anticipated her emergence on the Foxwoods Theatre stage. The Tony Award-winning co-writer and director was fired from the $70 million Spider-Man in March after delays, accidents, poor reactions from the audience and money woes, turning the musical into a punch line.

Earlier this week, Ms Taymor, Bono and The Edge were all smiles as they posed for photos on the red carpet, a very public reconciliation from the original creators who had separated as the show’s problems mounted. The show, with music by the two members of U2, was reworked from top to bottom and officially opened after a record-setting preview period.

Among the celebrities on hand for opening night were former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea, Matt Damon, Barbara Walters, Cindy Crawford, Jay-Z, Steve Martin, Liam Neeson, Vanessa Redgrave, Spike Lee, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John McEnroe.

The principal cast - Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson, TV Carpio as a spider-woman named Arachne, and Patrick Page as the Green Goblin - have been with the production since the tortured beginning. Asked what he had learned about putting on a Broadway show, lead producer Michael Cohl smiled. “It’s much more difficult than I ever expected,” he said. “God shows you: When you get cheeky, calm down. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The show’s planned opening was initially set for February 18, last year but financial issues forced producers to suspend work. A new opening was set for December 21, but that was pushed back to January 11, then again to February 7 and then to March 15. Spider-Man has broken the record for the longest preview period in Broadway history. Injuries to several cast members – including a 35-foot fall by a stunt actor playing the web-slinger that left him with a skull fracture and cracked vertebrae - marred the production, as well as the defection of a lead actress after she suffered a concussion.

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