‘My Spidey Sense Is Tingling’

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Producers of the Broadway musical “Spider-Man” countersued the play’s original director Julie Taymor, claiming she is trying to enforce an illegal price-fixing agreement that the company did not sign.



     Taymor sued the show’s producers in November, including the plaintiff in the new countersuit, 8 Legged Productions LLC. She claimed the producers cut her out of royalties, though the musical had earned more than $60 million at the time of her filing. She sought more than $1 million in damages and royalties.
     Now 8 Legged Productions has sued the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), Taymor, and her company, LOH Inc., in Federal Court.
     The complaint states: “Defendants have conspired and agreed, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, to fix minimum royalty rates, health and pension benefits, and other nonbargained-for compensation for Taymor’s services as ‘Spider-Man’s’ director, collaborator and mask designer at supracompetitive levels, by purporting to impose the collective bargaining agreement between The Broadway League and the SDC (the ‘Illegal Agreement’) upon Taymor’s work on the musical.”
     Earlier in her career, Taymor specialized in avant-garde theater based on Eastern puppetry traditions and independent films, such as her adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” She popularized these techniques in Broadway musical theater, starting with the long-running production of Disney’s “The Lion King.”
     Most news about her today involves her longstanding feud with the “Spider-Man” producers, which only shows signs of escalating. The show opened late, after months of delay, and received lukewarm reviews, at best, but has been a smash hit.
     On Tuesday, 8 Legged Productions accused Taymor of violating federal antitrust laws by seeking to enforce the collective bargaining agreements of her union, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
     Taymor claimed her contract stipulated guaranteed royalties and creative control of the Broadway production and its future stagings.
     In its countersuit, 8 Legged Productions called “the alleged collective bargaining agreement” a “subterfuge,” because it hired Taymor as an independent contractor, not an employee. It claims the alleged agreement was illegal, and so is Taymor’s demand for arbitration.
     The 26-page lawsuit contains 83 pages of attachments.
     8 Legged Productions is represented by Paolo Morante.

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