‘Spider-Man’ producers counter-sue Taymor

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (UPI) — Producers of the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” filed a counter-suit Tuesday against the show’s former director and co-writer Julie Taymor.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The producers’ answer responds to the complaint that Taymor and her company filed 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 that 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.

The counterclaims said because of “the delays and increased expense due to Taymor’s actions,” the producers had to hire other individuals “in order for the show to survive, and for it to continue to provide jobs to the cast and crew and allow investors to recoup their investment.”

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.

“As a result of all of the changes that Taymor could not and would not make, the Spider-Man musical is now a hit. The show is a success despite Taymor, not because of her,” the counter-suit said.

Taymor’s recent lawsuit, say the counterclaims, is simply “an attempt to put Taymor in the same position she would have been had she fulfilled her obligations under her agreement and actually written a book for the Spider-Man musical that could be opened on Broadway.”

Taymor is best known as one of the major creative forces behind the global stage phenomenon “The Lion King.”

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