Days Before Opening, Spider-Man Musical Stuck for Taymor’s Royalties

06/10/2011 2:39 PM |

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Things were looking so good for the rebooted Broadway musical spectacle Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark: Nobody has been injured since it resumed performances last month, the show has been frozen (no more tweaks or rewrites), and its ticket sales are back up to its Julie Taymor-era levels. But now the show’s deposed creator-director-writer-designer is claiming royalties, and yesterday the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) filed an arbitration claim against the musical’s producer for failing to pay Taymor said royalties.

Playbill reports that the SDC claims Taymor has received no royalty payments from the production. SDC executive director Laura Penn said in a statement:

Taymor has given nine years of her life to this project. The Producer has absolutely no right, legally and ethically, to withhold royalties that are due to her. In fact, the right to use her work, on Broadway or anywhere else, is dependent upon the payment of royalties.

Karen Azenberg, the group’s president, explains:

Royalties are the foundation of the compensation structure for directors and choreographers on Broadway. SDC exists to protect and enforce the rights of our Members to be paid for their work and for ongoing use of their property.

The current Playbill for the show—which opens in its new iteration on June 14—credits Taymor as co-writer of the book and with providing “original direction.” Accordingly, the SDC is demanding information from the producers to determine the exact amount of royalties Taymor is owed, and guarantees of overdue and future payments. All of which, for someone who made something that earns $1.3 million dollars every week seems perfectly reasonable.