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Posted at 04:08 PM ET, 11/08/2011

THE ‘SPIDER-MAN’ SUIT: Julie Taymor sues musical’s producers over payment, rights [UPDATED]


Julie Taymor arrives last June at the opening-night performance of the Broadway musical "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" in New York. (Charles Sykes - AP)
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It didn’t seem like terribly huge news last week when ousted “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” “visionary” Julie Taymor was ruled hypothetically eligible for a Tony Award.

That decision seems to take on a whole new weight, however, given the latest plot-twist in “Spider-Man’s” backstage tale:

Taymor filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the producers of the Most Expensive Musical Ever Made, claiming that they have trampled all over her “creative rights” and haven’t sufficiently paid her for her contributions to the once-troubled production.

“The producers’ actions have left her no choice but to resort to legal recourse to protect her rights,” Taymor’s lawyer, Charles Spada, said in a statement about the $75-million musical that features music by U2’s Bono and the Edge.

The Tony Awards Administration Committee said last week that Taymor is eligible for a “Best Direction of a Musical” Tony — a decision that reflects well on her case for having made deeply significant creative contributions.

Taymor — a Tony winner for “The Lion King” — was canned from “Spider-Man” in March after endless months of postponed openings, high-flying injuries and early withering reviews. Philip William McKinley (“The Boy From Oz”) was brought aboard as a “creative consultant” prior to the show’s eventual June opening.

Featuring some of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s iconic Spidey characters, the rafters-swinging musical has been soaring at the box office, routinely taking in more than $1.2-million a week and playing to full houses at the Foxwoods Theatre.

“Producers have failed to compensate Ms. Taymor for their continued use of her work to date,” Spada’s statement said Tuesday, “despite the fact that the show has consistently played to capacity or near-capacity houses since its first public performance in November 2010.”

“Spider-Man’s” producers responded to the suit Tuesday in a statement.

“Since Ms. Taymor’s departure in March, we have repeatedly tried to resolve these issues,” lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said in the statement. “The production has indeed compensated Ms. Taymor for her contribution as a co-book writer.”

Taymor reportedly is also seeking compensation from the theater directors’ union.

“Fortunately,” the producers’ statement said, “the court system will provide, once and for all, an opportunity to resolve this dispute.”

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By  |  04:08 PM ET, 11/08/2011

 
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