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Settlement reached in 'Spider-Man' B'way musical

Mark Kennedy, AP Drama Writer

FILE - In this June 14, 2011 file photo, Julie Taymor arrives at the opening night performance of the Broadway musical "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" in New York. A settlement has been reached between the producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and its fired director, Julie Taymor. Both sides on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, said in a statement that: “All claims between all of the parties in the litigation have been resolved.” Taymor filed a lawsuit in November 2011, saying her copyrighted written works were violated when she was fired last year and the musical's script was rewritten after the $75 million production had trouble getting past previews. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A settlement has been reached between the producers of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" and its fired director, Julie Taymor, ending a bitter legal fight that had marred what has become a Broadway success story.

"All claims between all of the parties in the litigation have been resolved," both sides said in a statement Wednesday. No details about the settlement or how it was reached were immediately revealed.

Taymor, who was the original "Spider-Man" director and co-book writer, was fired after years of delays, accidents and critical backlash.

The show, which features music by U2's Bono and The Edge, opened in November 2010 but spent months in previews before officially opening a few days after the Tony Awards in June. It has become a financial hit at the box office.

In November 2011, Taymor slapped the producers — led by Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris — as well as Glen Berger, her former co-book writer, with a federal copyright infringement lawsuit, alleging they violated her creative rights and haven't compensated her for the work she put into the $75 million show. The producers' filed a counterclaim asserting the copyright claims were baseless.

"We're happy to put all this behind us," said a statement by Cohl and Harris. For her part, Taymor was quoted in the release as saying: "I'm pleased to have reached an agreement and hope for the continued success of 'Spider-Man,' both on Broadway and beyond."

Taymor's lawsuit sought half of all profits, gains and advantages derived from the sale, license, transfer or lease of any rights in the original "Spider-Man" book along with a permanent ban of the use of her name or likeness in connection with a documentary film that was made of the birth of the musical without her written consent.

It also sought a jury trial to determine her share of profits from the unauthorized use of her version of the superhero story, which it said was believed to be in excess of $1 million.

Manhattan federal Judge Katherine Forrest had set a May 27 trial date after lawyers for Taymor asked that the case move forward because a settlement was never finalized. But that looming showdown is now off.

The legal wrangling revealed a behind-the-scenes atmosphere that was secretive and slightly paranoid. Taymor alleged that Berger was told to quietly work on changes to the story without Taymor's knowledge — called "Plan X" — that in an email Berger complained led him to lead a "double life" — both working with and against Taymor.

The stunt-heavy show has been doing brisk business ever since it opened its doors and most weeks easily grossing more than the $1.2 million the producers have indicated they need to reach to stay viable.

Taymor had alleged that the show has not been re-imagined and that what audiences are seeing at the Foxwoods Theatre is essentially the same show she directed. "The producers' current suggestion that they have created a 'new' show after a mere three-week shutdown is false and incredible," the filing says.

After Taymor left, Philip William McKinley, who directed the Hugh Jackman musical "The Boy From Oz" in 2003, was hired to take over. He was billed as creative consultant when the musical opened.

When the show finally opened in June 2011, and Taymor received a standing ovation and kisses from cast members, as well as Bono and The Edge.


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