Julie Taymor (born December 15, 1952) is an American director of Broadway theatre and film. Taymor's work has received many accolades from critics, and she has earned two Tony Awards out of four nominations, an Emmy Award, and an Academy Award nomination for her work, noted for its visual flair and colorful costuming choices. She resides in New York City with her partner Elliot Goldenthal, whom she has been with for over 20 years. She is widely known as the first female to win the Tony Award for director of a musical.
Although in 1970 Taymor enrolled in Oberlin College in Ohio, she sought experience with Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre and other companies and studied through correspondence. Hearing that director Herbert Blau would be moving to Oberlin, she returned there and auditioned successfully, becoming, once again, the youngest member of a troupe. In 1973 Taymor attended a summer program of the American Society for Eastern Arts in Seattle. The instructors were performers of Indonesian topeng masked dance-drama and wayang kulit shadow puppetry. This would prove to have a great effect on Taymor in later years. Taymor graduated from Oberlin College with a major in mythology and folklore and Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1974.
Taymor has transitioned from stage to screen in recent years, directing the films Titus in 1999 (an adaptation of the play Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare) and Frida in 2002 (a movie based on the life of artist Frida Kahlo). Both movies received positive reviews for their stylish filming; Frida was the more acclaimed of the two, garnering six Academy Award nominations and winning in two of the six categories (Best Makeup and Best Original Score). Taymor and Goldenthal were co-nominees in the Best Original Song category.
For the Metropolitan Opera during the 2005/2006 season, Taymor directed a successful production of The Magic Flute. It was revised for the 2006/2007 season and, in addition to full-length performances, was adapted for a 100-minute version over the Holiday season to appeal to children. That version of the opera was the first of a series of NCM Fathom Live on the Big Screen presentations of MET operas downloaded via satellite to movie theatres across North America and parts of Europe for the 2006/2007 season.
In June 2006, Taymor directed the opera Grendel for Los Angeles Opera which was also presented as part of the Summer 2006 Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. Taymor's most recent work has been as director of the film Across the Universe, a 1960s love story set to the music of The Beatles, and starring Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood. Unhappy with Taymor's cut of the film, Revolution Studios recut the film to generate a shorter version (among other changes) without Taymor's consent. However, after several months of dispute, Taymor's version was eventually reinstated as the theatrically released version The film opened in September 2007.
In April 2007, it was announced that Marvel Studios was preparing to make a Spider-Man musical adaptation for the stage. Taymor has been selected to direct the show, with music to be composed and written by Bono and The Edge, whom Taymor employed for two songs heard in Across the Universe. Songs for the Spider-Man musical were written in two weeks.