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Published: Thursday, 6/16/2011

'Spider-Man' finally opens on Broadway


NEW YORK — A night on Broadway that was elusive for so long — the opening of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark — came at last on Tuesday and included a reunion that once seemed improbable: Julie Taymor, the musical’s director of record, on stage for the curtain call hugging onetime collaborator Bono and the producers who ousted her as part of a creative overhaul of the show.

After months of setting theater records, like a $70 million budget and 183 preview performances (compared with the usual 30), Spider-Man unfolded flawlessly before a buoyant celebrity audience that included former President Bill Clinton sitting beside his old friend Bono, of U2, the show’s composer with his band mate the Edge.

The performance began 50 minutes late Tuesday because of the crush of celebrity arrivals, which included Andrew Lloyd Webber, Spike Lee, Steve Martin, Liam Neeson, and Gina Gershon.

Moments before the curtain rose, Clinton entered with his daughter, Chelsea, and a small entourage. He applauded after every song and laughed heartily during a scene in which the villain Green Goblin becomes irked by an elaborate voicemail system.

The former president and most everyone else leapt to their feet for the curtain call, first to applaud the cast and then many of the show’s designers, musicians, and crew members who took the stage. The producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris also came out to applause, followed by Bono and Edge and then Philip William McKinley, who took over direction in March.

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