Settlement reached over 'Spider-Man' show

Feb. 17, 2012 at 3:22 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The producers of the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" say they have reached a settlement with former director Julie Taymor.

The producers said Thursday they have agreed to pay Taymor full royalties for her director services from the inception of the show's New York run. The parties also reached an agreement with regard to compensation owed for subsequent productions.

No dollar amount was specified in a news release announcing the settlement.

"We are pleased to resolve our issues with the producer of 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' and to welcome it into our collective bargaining partnership," Karen Azenberg, president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, which represents Taymor, said in a statement. "It has employed four of our members -- Julie Taymor, Daniel Ezralow, Philip McKinley and Chase Brock -- and the success of the show is in our mutual interest. The litigation between us is over, and we are hopeful that any remaining issues between the producer and Ms. Taymor regarding her role as author can also be resolved to the satisfaction of all."

Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris of 8 Legged Productions said in a joint statement they "are very happy to have reached an amicable compromise with the SDC that will allow us all to move on."

"Now we can focus our energies on providing an amazing entertainment experience for our audiences, who have come to see the show in record numbers and made it a tremendous hit. We hope to be able to employ many talented theater professionals, including SDC members, for years to come," Cohl and Harris said.

The show's producers had filed a counter-suit responding to the complaint Taymor and her company lodged Nov. 8, asserting the current version of the musical infringes on Taymor's copyrights, and raising contractual and state law claims, including a claim seeking to bar producers from bringing the show to non-Broadway venues.

The producers said their counterclaims assert although Taymor was contracted to co-write and collaborate on the musical, she refused "to fulfill her contractual obligations, declaring that she could not and would not do the jobs that she was contracted to do."

Although it was clear the show was not working and needed a major overhaul, the counterclaims allege, Taymor repeatedly refused to collaborate on changes with other members of the production team, even after the initial scathing reviews came out during the preview period.

After Taymor left the production, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was hired to rework the show's book with existing co-book writer Glen Berger, and Philip Wm. McKinley was brought in to direct the musical.

The show was closed for 3 1/2 weeks so it could reopen with the new book.

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