Julie Taymor reaches partial settlement on ‘Spider-Man’ musical


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The complex legal battle between Julie Taymor and producers of the Broadway musical ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ has taken a significant step toward resolution, but many legal issues remain in the air.

The producers of ‘Spider-Man’ announced Thursday that they have reached a settlement in their arbitration with the union that represents Taymor -- the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.


As part of the settlement, the producers said they have agreed to pay Taymor full royalties for her services as director of the New York production. The payments cover the period beginning with the inception of the musical, as well as subsequent productions outside of Broadway, such as a possible tour.

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The union had been battling the ‘Spider-Man’ producers for months, seeking more than $500,000 in royalties believed to be owed to Taymor for her work as director on the show.

Taymor was booted from ‘Spider-Man’ in early 2011 following negative media coverage and technical mishaps during the musical’s preview period. She was replaced by Philip William McKinley, though she still retains some credits on the show.

The settlement also provides for other payments to Taymor as a ‘collaborator’ when the show’s New York production recoups its investment. Thursday’s settlement pertains only to the union’s arbitration with ‘Spider-Man’s’ producers, Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris. However, court proceeding involving Taymor and ‘Spider-Man’ are far from over.

In November, Taymor sued producers in federal court, claiming that she is entitled to profits from the show, as it was largely her creation.


One of Taymor’s contentions in the federal case is that she is a co-author of the musical. Taymor co-wrote the musical with Glen Berger, but after she departed the production, the book was overhauled with the help of playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

In January, producers filed a countersuit in federal court against the director, accusing her of failing to fulfill her contractual obligations. Their suit claims that the current version of the show is significantly different from Taymor’s version.


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-- David Ng