Broadway Squabble Hits the Courtroom
The former director of the “Spider-Man” musical Julie Taymor has now sued the producers of the “Spider-Man” musical for firing her from the much-delayed Broadway show, and hiring creative consultants to make changes she says were unauthorized and infringed upon her work. The auteur director, in her federal complaint, states that the musical has earned more than $60 million but the producers have cut her out of royalties. She wants more than $1 million in damages and royalties.
Taymor says that in 2005 she demanded, and was told she’d get, complete creative control over the musical before she signed on. In addition to the musical itself, she was to have control over the book of the musical, and approval over subsequent productions of the musical beyond broadway. Six years later, according to Taymor, she says she was being removed from the production and that her work would be rewritten by what was described as a creative consultant by the name of Philip William McKinley. She fired back that she didn’t authorize any such changes, and that according to her contract, they couldn’t actually do this.
About 6 years later, Taymor says, she was told she was being “removed” from the production, and that a “creative consultant” would be hired to change her work. She says her lawyers then notified the producers that she did not authorize any changes.
They rewrote the book she’d written, and it was so similar to the original that the Tony Awards Administration Committee notified her she would be eligible for a 2012 Tony Award in the category of Best Direction of a Musical. Taymor says that it’s so close that it doesn’t qualify as a new work, and that she should be eligible for the award instead of McKinley.
She was sent a check for a little over $52,000 which was supposed to cover payment of her coauthorship royalties through April 17, 2001, but the producers are holding out on paying her anything else for any performances since then.
The Spider-Man musical has been beset by problems ever since it first opened, with numerous accidents and injuries befalling the cast members, and some pretty lousy reviews, though it achieved financial success despite this.
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