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In The Limelight For March 10, 2011: National Arts News

Here's a look at what's in the limelight for the week of March 7, 2011 in national arts news.

Another Knot In Spider-Man's Web

The director of the Broadway musical Spider-Man will step down, the New York Times reported this week. Despite also being the show's creator, mask-designer, and co-scriptwriter, Julie Taymor will leave the $65 million production, of which she has been a part for nine years, so that a new team can overhaul it. The changes that will be made remain unclear, but producers cited artistic and commercial differences. The changes would further delay the musical's opening, which has already been pushed back six times, after a series of setbacks that included serious safety concerns after an actor fell from a thirty-foot elevated platform, breaking several ribs and requiring surgery-he was one of four actors to be injured on the show's set. Spider-Man will have its hundredth preview performance this week, which makes it the most-previewed show in history; at more than twice the cost of the next-most expensive musical, it's also the most expensive show on Broadway.

Venice Biennale To Feature U.S. Athletes

The team of artists who will represent the United States at this summer's Venice Biennale, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, will be partnering with USA Gymnastics and USA Track and Field. The American pavilion's commissioning institution, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, announced last week that visitors to this year's Biennale will have a chance to watch two gymnasts and a decathlon athlete perform in a multimedia installation that will also incorporate sculpture, video, and sound.

Anna Nicole Smith: An Unlikely Opera

In a bizarre mash-up of high and low culture, one of the most tragic of contemporary American pop culture figures has been reincarnated as the heroine of an opera that opened last month at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden. Playboy model-turned-heiress-turned-reality-martyr Anna Nicole Smith, widow of the octogenarian billionaire J. Howard Marshall II, was the star of her own reality show; she died in 2007 of a drug overdose at the age of 39. The opera has been getting a good deal of attention across the pond. Its librettist, Richard Thomas, is also known for his musical based on talk show host Jerry Springer.

Video Rentals To Be Offered On Facebook

Last year's acclaimed Batman movie The Dark Knight is the first film to be available on the newest online video rental application. No, it's not Netflix… think of it as Social Network-flix. That's right, Warner Brothers has launched an application that will make it possible to rent and watch movies directly on Facebook. The company chose Dark Knight as their first release because of its popularity; the film has nearly 3 million registered Facebook ‘fans.'

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