Returning to Her Roots — Tony Winner Julie Taymor Revisits Shakespeare With A Midsummer Night's Dream at TFANA

By Stuart Miller
22 Nov 2013

Speaking on the day that the New York Times wrote up a new tell-all book about the show by her former collaborator, Glen Berger, Taymor emphatically said, "Yawn. We're all kind of yawning about this. I'm not going to read it. That's all I have to say."

While she doesn't like rehashing what went wrong, there were seemingly oblique references in her commentary on other shows, such as when she fondly recalled her experience with the producers on Lion King — "They were so supportive. They wanted me to break the rules. That's why they hired me" — as well as how important it was then that "it was a very closed process with no one from the outside watching and talking." She also spoke passionately and in great detail about the decisions and discoveries in her creation of shows like The Lion King and the operas of Oedipus Rex and Grendel.

Horowitz has always been wildly supportive, too. He knew she was interested in directing Macbeth and told her he'd welcome her take on that. "'You don't open a new theatre with Macbeth," she said of the dark, bloody, and supposedly cursed play. They did readings of five plays last year including The Comedy of Errors and Timon of Athens before settling on Midsumer.

"Midsummer is a blessing on this new house, a marriage of the audience and the show, of the community and the theatre," Taymor said. She is adding several unique elements besides Goldenthal's score, including a visual motif of sheets and silks to create a world of shadows and dreams and a group of 16 children as "rude elementals" to replace the fairies. "They have that wildness, that unfiltered essence of nature."

While she carved out time in her schedule for this play, she may not be able to fit much more Shakespeare on her calendar — her focus these days is more on movies (she has several planned, including one of her musical Transposed Heads and one of The Flying Dutchman, which she has directed as an opera), TV (she has a series in the works) and another musical. "It feels like my life is all planned out for the next few years," she said.

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David Harewood, Tina Benko, Max Casella and Kathryn Hunter
Photo by Gerry Goodstein