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Julie Taymor

Theater, film and opera director Julie Taymor's most recent film is Frida, starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina. The film garnered six Oscar nominations, winning two. Taymor made her feature film directorial debut in 1999 with Titus, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Based on Shakespeare's play, Titus Andronicus, her adapted screenplay is published in an illustrated book by Newmarket Press.

Taymor has received numerous awards for The Lion King, which opened at the New Amsterdam Theater in 1997, including two Tony Awards: for best direction of a musical and for her original costume designs. She also co-designed the masks and puppets and wrote additional lyrics for The Lion King, which has been performed in eleven countries around the world. The Lion King most recently premiered in South Africa and opens in Paris in October 2007.

Her direction of the opera The Magic Flute opened in the fall of 2004, with James Levine conducting, and is now in repertory at The Metropolitan Opera. Taymor directed Carlo Gozzi's The Green Bird on Broadway in 2000. It was first produced in 1996 by Theatre For a New Audience at The New Victory Theater and presented at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Taymor's original visual music-theater work, Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass, presented at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater in 1996, received five Tony nominations including best director. Originally produced by Music Theater Group in 1988, Juan Darién was directed and designed by Taymor, and co-written with the composer Elliot Goldenthal. The recipient of two Obies and numerous other awards, it was also performed at The Edinburgh International Festival, festivals in France, Jerusalem and Montreal, and had an extended run in San Francisco.

In September 1995, Taymor directed Wagner's The Flying Dutchman for the Los Angeles Music Center in a co-production with the Houston Grand Opera. She directed Strauss' Salome for the Kirov Opera in Russia, Germany, and Israel, under the baton of Valery Gergiev. In June 1993, she directed Mozart's The Magic Flute for the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Zubin Mehta conducting.

Taymor's first opera direction was of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex for the Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan, under the baton of Seiji Ozawa in 1992. The opera featured Philip Langridge as Oedipus and Jessye Norman as Jocasta. Her film of the opera premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Jury Award at the Montreal Festival of Films on Art. The film was broadcast internationally in 1993, garnering an Emmy Award and the 1994 International Classical Music Award for best opera production.

Fool's Fire, Taymor's first film, which she both adapted and directed, is based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, Hop-Frog. Produced by American Playhouse, it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS in March 1992. The film won the Best Drama award at the Tokyo International Electronic Cinema Festival.

Taymor's stage production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus was produced off- Broadway by Theatre For a New Audience in 1994. Other directing credits include The Tempest (TFANA at the Stratford American Shakespeare Festival), The Taming of the Shrew, The Transposed Heads (based on the novella by Thomas Mann, co-produced by the American Musical Theater Festival and The Lincoln Center), and Liberty's Taken, an original musical co-created with David Suehsdorf and Elliot Goldenthal. While on a Watson Fellowship in Indonesia from 1975-79, Taymor developed a mask/dance company, Teatr Loh, consisting of Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, French, German and American actors, musicians, dancers and puppeteers. The company toured throughout Indonesia with two original productions, Way of Snow and Tirai (subsequently performed in the USA).

In 1991 Taymor received a MacArthur genius Fellowship. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, the first Annual Dorothy B. Chandler Award in Theater, and the 1990 Brandeis Creative Arts Award. An illustrated book on her career, Julie Taymor: Playing with Fire, was recently expanded and revised by Harry N. Abrams. Her book, The Lion King: Pride Rock on Broadway, is published by Hyperion. An illustrated book, Frida: Bringing Frida Kahlo's Life and Art to Film, is available from Newmarket Press. A major retrospective of 25 years of Taymor's work opened in the fall of 1999 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio and toured the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington D.C.) and the Field Museum (Chicago).

Taymor recently collaborated with Goldenthal on an original opera, Grendel, which premiered at the Los Angeles Opera in 2006 and subsequently at the Lincoln Center Festival.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Julie Taymor Facts

OccupationDirector, Screenwriter
BirthdayDecember 15, 1952 (70)
BirthplaceNewton, Massachusetts, USA

Selected Filmography

Across The Universe
The Tempest
Mozart: The Magic Flute
Midsummer Night's Dream
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