SDC Files Arbitration Claim Against Spider-Man Producers on Behalf of Julie Taymor

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09 Jun 2011

Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

On June 9 the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) filed an arbitration claim against Spider-Man Broadway, LLC, the producer of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark for failure to pay royalties to the musical's original director Julie Taymor, who was recently released from that position.

Laura Penn, executive director of SDC, 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."

The producers have, according to a press statement, "failed to pay to Ms. Taymor any royalties for the run of the production in violation of both the SDC collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and her individual contract. SDC is asking for an accounting from the Producer to determine the precise amount of royalties due to Ms. Taymor, payment of all royalties due to Ms. Taymor, and continued payment of royalties and all other compensation due now and in the future."

In exchange for royalties, directors and choreographers license their creative work to producers. SDC states that the producers of Spider-Man do not have the rights to use Taymor's direction unless she is receiving royalties.

According to Karen Azenberg, SDC president, "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."



Spider-Man which has been in previews at the Foxwoods Theatre since November 2010, is scheduled to officially open on Broadway June 14. The musical had previously announced that "due to the new schedule, director and co-book writer Julie Taymor will no longer continue in her day-to-day duties with the production."

According to the current Playbill for the musical, music and lyrics are by Bono and The Edge; with a book by Julie Taymor, Glenn Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; choreography and aerial choreography by Daniel Ezralow; additional choreography by Chase Brock; and original direction by Julie Taymor. Philip Wm McKinley is billed as the creative consultant.

A spokesperson for the musical told Playbill.com that "the production has no comment on this matter."

SDC is the theatrical union representing more than 2,400 professional stage directors and choreographers throughout the United States.