Achtung Spidey! Broadway Lawsuit Set for Court

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Bono as the Fly Cleveland 1992, by Wikimedia user Steve Kalinsky, licensed by Creative Commons

“I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls…”

Spider-Man has always been much more familiar with spandex suits than lawsuits.  The Broadway play ‘Turn Off the Dark’ is slinging across headlines after the old co-writer and musical director Julie Taymor is suing over copyright infringement.  She is seeking compensation up to $1 million after being terminated after the show suffered from freak injuries and other mishaps.  It was believed that a decision could be reached, however sources claim the final stumbling block was creative control over Marvel’s web-head himself.  U2’s Bono and The Edge, who are the show’s composers, are also set to appear for the court date in New York, officially set for May 28.

Julie Taymor is seeking sizable royalties from the most expensive show in Broadway history, which is understandable considering she was instrumental in the show’s creation. Members of the Irish rock quartet U2 worked closely with Taymor to develop the songs and themes based around Peter Parker’s heroic battle as the masked super-hero.  Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark remains to be one of the most talked about plays on all of Broadway, regardless of the fact that it is barely operating at a profit.  Operating costs per week are slightly less than $1 million, which is about what the show’s revenue is as well.

I often think that if a Broadway play were designed specifically for me to enjoy it, it would be this show.  Not only am I a Spider-Man aficionado (I grew up watching the cartoons), U2 is also my favorite band.  New York is no stranger to expensive operating costs and lawsuits, and Bono himself has been in a courthouse or two in his lifetime, so there are some pretty common themes in this lawsuit.  I’m just not sure Taymor has any claim to the money here; I would think her initial agreement to produce/direct would’ve had royalties included.  If not, then I think her issue should be with whoever drew that contract up on her behalf.