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Is frugality the next act for Taymor?

It's tough to stump legiters, those opinionated theater types with opinions about everything. But ask them what Julie Taymor should do next, and suggestions run dry.

Nobody will deny she has a real genius for visual spectacle, and many point out that the turbulence of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" can't be entirely her fault.

But in the run-up to the recent announcement she would step aside from day-to-day directorial duties, her cost-is-no-object approach was one of the focal points of the intense media coverage of the much-delayed tuner, budgeted at some $70 million and climbing. Given that, Broadway denizens wonder if fundraising for future legit projects might be close to impossible.

"Who'd give her the money?" asks one producer with a show on the boards.

There's always movies, but theater folks point out the last couple, "The Tempest" and "Across the Universe," haven't been particularly well-received, either.

She could rebrand herself solely as a designer, thereby leaving the storytelling part of the equation in other hands. But that might seem a stretch for someone as demonstrably headstrong.

Some in the industry point out that no matter what she does next, she'll hardly starve, given the enduring returns of her work on long-running smash "The Lion King."

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So perhaps one good option would see her tackle a microbudget stage project that might remind the industry of her strengths. "If you put her downtown in a small, low-budget item, she'll probably blow the lid off it," says one industry insider. "Or blow the bottom out of it. One or the other."

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Title Annotation:Julie Taymor
Author:Cox, Gordon
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 21, 2011
Words:262
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