PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, April 5-12: Matilda Arrives, Nicholas Hytner to Depart and Julie Taymor and Spider-Man Settle

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12 Apr 2013

Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Is there peace in the web? Can it be?

This week, Julie Taymor, Glen Berger and 8 Legged Productions LLC (cute name), the producer of Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark—parties who have been at each other's throats since the mega-musical with the troubled history opened—announced April 10 that the pending litigation between them has been settled by mutual agreement of all parties.

How were they resolved? Wouldn't you like to know. Wouldn't we all. But, sadly, details of the agreement were not announced.

There were, however, several official statements. The general message was that everybody was happy, pleased and glad.

Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris of 8 Legged Productions said in a joint statement, "We're happy to put all this behind us. We are now looking forward to spreading Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark in new and exciting ways around the world."

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

Berger said, "I am very glad the parties have put the claims behind them. I look forward to seeing fruitful work from all those involved."

The news was the conclusion of a legal battle that began in November 2011, when original Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark director Taymor filed a lawsuit against the producers of the musical claiming that the producers violated her creative rights and did not compensate her for her work on the musical.

In response to Taymor's suit, the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark filed an answer and countersuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the director and her company, LOH, Inc., in January 2012. The producers' counterclaims said that Taymor refused "to fulfill her contractual obligations, declaring that she could not and would not do the jobs that she was contracted to do."


The reign of Nicholas Hytner, the super-successful artistic director of London's National Theatre, now has an end date. But, fans needn't worry; they still have two more years of Hytner-brand theatre in store. The director announced that he will step down at the end of March 2015.

In a statement Hytner said, "It's been a joy and a privilege to lead the National Theatre for ten years and I'm looking forward to the next two. I have the most exciting and most fulfilling job in the English-speaking theatre; and after twelve years it will be time to give someone else a turn to enjoy the company of my stupendous colleagues, who together make the National what it is."

Nick Starr, who has been executive director since 2002, also announced that he will be leaving the NT during 2014.

Whoever succeeds Hytner in the position will have a tough act to follow. In the entire history of the National, no artistic director has enjoyed the winning streak Hytner has, with both the press and the public. Among the productions he has shepherded to the stage have been the critical and popular smashes The History Boys; War Horse; One Man, Two Guvnors; Jerry Springer: The Opera; Coram Boy; The Seafarer and many more. Quite of few of these transferred to Broadway, where they often repeated their success and took in awards.

Hytner also innovated reduced-price ticket seasons, sponsored by Travelex. The system was credited with brining in higher attendance, and attracting a younger and more diverse audience.


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