Producers, ousted director of Broadway's "Spiderman" settle dispute

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 10, 2013 5:52 PM
Producers, ousted director of Broadway's "Spiderman" settle dispute

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The producers of Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" have reached a settlement with Julie Taymor, the musical's ousted director and co-author, in a copyright dispute stemming from the show's troubled debut, the parties said on Wednesday.

The terms of the settlement in the long-running dispute were not made public, according to spokesmen for Taymor and the producers.

"Spider-Man," now a hit, got off to a disastrous start in 2010 with actors sustaining injuries during high-wire stunts, repeated delays in having an opening night, and critical ridicule.

The show's producers fired Taymor in March 2011. She had received a Tony Award for best direction of a Musical for her work on "The Lion King" and had worked for years to bring "Spider-Man" to Broadway.

Taymor filed suit in U.S. District Court accusing 8 Legged Productions, the production company of lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris, and Glen Berger, her former co-author, of infringing on her copyright by retaining much of her original libretto in what was described as a revamped production following her dismissal.

She sought unpaid royalties and damages that she estimated exceeded $1 million and asked for a permanent injunction preventing the producers from mounting or licensing the musical beyond Broadway without her consent.

The producers countersued, saying her claims were baseless.

The settlement averts a trial, which had been set to begin on May 27.

"All claims between all of the parties in the litigation have been resolved," said Taymor, the producers and Berger in a joint statement.

The show, which includes songs by U2's Bono and The Edge and is the most expensive ever mounted on Broadway, has become a commercial success, routinely earning more than $1 million a week.

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"I'm pleased to have reached an agreement and hope for the continued success of Spider-Man, both on Broadway and beyond," Taymor said in the joint statement.

Producers Cohl and Harris said in the statement they were "happy to put all this behind us."

Taymor is now directing Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the inaugural production at Theatre for a New Audience's new premises in Brooklyn, New York, which is due to open in November.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and L Gevirtz)