Category: Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark

Injured stuntman takes legal action against Broadway's 'Spider-Man'

April 6, 2012 |  6:59 am

Screen Shot 2012-04-05 at 10.13.36 PM
The web of legal woes grows for "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." 

A "Spidey" stuntman has filed court papers seeking information about the death-defying stunts performed in the Broadway mega-musical -- a legal move that could mark the prelude to a lawsuit.

Richard Kobak claims he was injured while performing the show's many aerial acrobatics, and the production was slow to take action to fix safety equipment.

In an affidavit filed with the New York Supreme Court, Kobak claims in one such incident he was left with whiplash, a concussion and herniated discs in his back after an airborne stunt gone wrong slammed him face-first into a wall.

The accident-prone production, which opened in June, has seen plenty of crash landings. About a half dozen performers were injured during the rehearsals and previews.

This is not the only legal action for the production. Julie Taymor, the show’s original director and co-creator, is suing producers for copyright issues. Producers have countersued the ousted director for breach of contract. 

Despite the troubled backstory, the production, which was $70 million in the making, has done well at the box office -- often ranking among Broadway’s top-selling shows. And the Tonys could boost the show’s onstage presence now that it’s eligible for awards.


Spider-Man" producers countersue Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor sues producers of "Spider-Man" musical

Julie Taymor claims 'Spider-Man' producers engaged in fraud

--Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Reeve Carney as Spider-Man in the Broadway musical. Credit: Jacob Cohl

Julie Taymor claims 'Spider-Man' producers engaged in fraud

March 2, 2012 |  5:32 pm

Julie Taymor
The most exciting thing about Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has been the legal battle taking place off stage. On Friday, lawyers for Julie Taymor, the ousted director of the mega-musical, fired the latest salvo in the ongoing fight, filing papers in a federal court in response to a countersuit from the show's producers.

Taymor's lawyers claim in the document that producers "fraudulently induced" her to continue working on the musical even though they were "secretly conspiring to oust Taymor and use and change her work without pay."

The papers also state that Taymor was fired in an attempt to blame the musical's problems on her, as well as for financial reasons.

The 46-page document, obtained by The Times, was filed Friday in a New York court. [Updated: Friday, 6:15 p.m.] A lawyer representing "Spider-Man" producers said in a statement that it is "very disheartening for the former director of the show to take no responsibility for the consequences of her actions while, at the same time, trying to claim credit for the show's success."

In Friday's filing, Taymor's lawyers addressed the existence of "Plan X," which they say was a plan to make changes to the musical without Taymor's knowledge during the show's preview period.

They claim that co-writer Glen Berger and set designer George Tsypin developed the plan in secret and reached out to producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris, as well as Bono and the Edge, who wrote the score for the musical. (Tsypin had been a longtime collaborator and friend of Taymor.)

Continue reading »

Julie Taymor reaches partial settlement on 'Spider-Man' musical

February 16, 2012 | 10:35 am

  "Spider-Man" producers announced they have reached a settlement in its arbitration with the union that represents Julie Taymor -- the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
The complex legal battle between Julie Taymor and producers of the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has taken a significant step toward resolution, but many legal issues remain in the air.

The producers of "Spider-Man" announced Thursday that they have reached a settlement in their arbitration with the union that represents Taymor -- the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

As part of the settlement, the producers said they have agreed to pay Taymor full royalties for her services as director of the New York production. The payments cover the period beginning with the inception of the musical, as well as subsequent productions outside of Broadway, such as a possible tour.

PHOTOS: Julie Taymor's life in pictures

The union had been battling the "Spider-Man" producers for months, seeking more than $500,000 in royalties believed to be owed to Taymor for her work as director on the show.

Taymor was booted from "Spider-Man" in early 2011 following negative media coverage and technical mishaps during the musical's preview period. She was replaced by Philip William McKinley, though she still retains some credits on the show.

Continue reading »

Eiko Ishioka, designer for 'Spider-Man' and Cirque, dies at 73

January 26, 2012 | 12:24 pm



Eiko Ishioka, the celebrated Japanese designer whose fantastical and dreamlike creations spanned the fields of graphic arts, costume design and more, has died at 73. She died Saturday from pancreatic cancer in Tokyo.

Ishioka became famous for her strange, otherworldly designs that drew from various cultures. In the U.S., she was best-known for her costume design, creating the colorful outfits for Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai" and the 1992 movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula," directed by Francis Ford Coppola, for which she won an Oscar.

In 2003, Ishioka spoke to The Times about her work on "Varekai." As a designer, "my perspective comes not just from knowledge of what happens behind the scenes or backstage but also from the perspective of the audience," she said. "That dual perspective led me to the idea: 'Why don't I design costumes that look dangerous but are actually safe?'"

Ishioka also designed the costumes and sets for the 1988 Broadway production of "M. Butterfly" by David Henry Hwang. More recently, she designed the outlandish costumes for singer Grace Jones for her 2009 "Hurricane" tour.

Producers of Broadway's "Spider-Man" announced that they will dedicate Thursday's performance to Ishioka.

Continue reading »

Monster Mash: Nick Jonas back on Broadway; 'Book of Mormon' plea

January 24, 2012 |  7:50 am


Climbing the corporate latter:
Pop star Nick Jonas suits up to play Broadway's next J. Pierrepont Finch in "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying," following Darren Criss' popular limited run. (Playbill

Sold out: Lawmaker pleads for Colorado homeboys Trey Parker and Matt Stone to extend "Book of Mormon" run in Denver. (Denver Post)

Money matters: The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society wins in dispute with "Spider-Man" producers. (Playbill

Crystal ball: Leaders in entertainment, academia and marketing gathered to predict what Broadway will look like in 2032 at the one-day inaugural TEDxBroadway. (Associated Press)

Spidey fashion sense: A cape made of spider silk — thanks to artist Simon Peers, designer Nicholas Godley and more than a million hard-working insects — goes on display at London's V&A museum. (The Guardian)

"Follies" follies: Even with a high demand for tickets, the critically acclaimed "Follies" ended its Broadway run without turning a profit. (New York Times)

Save the last dance: Financial woes postpone Oakland Ballet Company’s spring program. (Oakland Tribune)

Common ground: A museum devoted to Civil War, civil rights could come to North Carolina. (Fayetteville Observer

Stage hands: Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton have been tapped to host this year’s Olivier Awards. (Theater Mania

Passing: John Levy, first prominent African American jazz manager, dies at 99. (Associated Press

Also in the L.A. Times: Mark Swed reviews the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mahler "Rescurrection"; highlights from this year’s Hollywood Bowl lineup.

-- Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Singer/actor Nick Jonas as Link Larkin performs during the 2011 production of "Hairspray "at the Hollywood Bowl. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times


'Spider-Man' producers countersue Julie Taymor [Updated]

January 17, 2012 |  2:44 pm


The fight between Julie Taymor and the producers of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" is getting uglier. On Tuesday, producers said they have filed a countersuit in federal court against the director, accusing her of failing to fulfill her contractual obligations on the Broadway musical.

The producers said in a release that Taymor refused on a number of occasions to collaborate on changes to the show with other members of the production team. "The show is a success despite Taymor, not because of her," said the claim.

Last year, Taymor sued the producers, claiming that her creative rights were violated and that she wasn't compensated for her work. Taymor was fired as director of the musical in March following scathing reviews and a number of technical mishaps during the show's preview period.

Taymor was replaced by Philip William McKinley in the director's seat. The book for the musical, which Taymor wrote with Glen Berger, received an overhaul by playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who worked with Berger. The revised musical officially opened in New York in June.

Producers are claiming that the delays and increased expenses were due to Taymor. They also claim that Taymor's suit is "baseless" and that the current version of the show is significantly different from her version. The countersuit is being filed against Taymor and her company, LOH.

[Updated at 3:21 p.m.]: A lawyer representing Taymor issued the following statement on Tuesday:

Continue reading »

Monster Mash: David Bowie denies report that he OK'd musical

November 28, 2011 |  7:51 am

David Bowie may or may not be lending some of his songs to a planned stage production titled "Heroes: The Musical"

Space oddity: Despite a report in the Guardian that David Bowie is lending his songs to a stage production titled "Heroes: The Musical," a statement on the entertainer's website says he has not. (

Still evolving: The creative team behind "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark" is considering yearly changes for the Broadway musical. (New York Times)

Rarity: An original, autographed drawing by Walt Disney, believed to have been made about 1920, is set to go up for auction this week. (Associated Press)

Honored: Esa-Pekka Salonen has won the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his Violin Concerto. (Los Angeles Times)

No more kissing: Oscar Wilde's lipstick-covered tomb in Paris has been restored and includes a barrier to discourage tributes by admirers. (The Guardian)

Cirque du museum: The latest creation from Guy Laliberte, a founder of Cirque du Soleil, is  "Aqua: A Journey into the World of Water," at the Australian National Maritime Museum. (The Age)

Eau de theater: The Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Fla., has its own smell, called "Coconut Mango." (St. Petersburg Times)

Public performances: About 2,000 young musicians from Venezuela's El Sistema program performed in subway stations around Caracas over the weekend. (Reuters)

Singing nuns: John Patrick Shanley is working to turn his play "Doubt" into an opera. (Playbill)

Innovative thinking: An L.A. architect is working on a new vision for the neighborhood of Inglewood. (Los Angeles Times)

Contenders: The Guggenheim has announced its list of finalists for the 2012 Hugo Boss Prize. (GalleristNY)

Bizarre: A former FBI art-crimes chief is being accused of staging an art heist in order to solve a previous crime. (Telegraph)

Business and pleasure: A look at this year's Art Basel Miami Beach, which kicks off on Dec. 1. (Miami Herald)

Municipal dispute: The city of Santa Fe is ordering a gallery owner to remove outdoor murals she commissioned. (KRQE)

For sale: Art buyers recently lined up for a "secret sale" at the Royal College of Art in London. (Telegraph)

Passing: Director Ken Russell, who often gave music a central role in his movies, has died at age 84.

Also in the L.A. Times: Music critic Mark Swed reviews Esa-Pekka Salonen and the LA. Philharmonic performing a new piece by Anders Hillborg.

-- David Ng

Photo: David Bowie in 2004. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Monster Mash: Ovation Award winners; new (old) ending for 'Porgy'

November 15, 2011 |  7:40 am O's: Troubadour Theater Company, Rogue Machine  and "Leap of Faith" were among the  winners at Monday's Ovation Awards ceremony, presented by LA Stage Alliance for excellence during the 2010-11 season. (Los Angeles Times)

Going back: A planned revisionist happy ending in the coming Broadway production of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” has been dropped. (New York Times)

Her turn: Julie Taymor has a few things to say about Bono and the Edge's public comments about her and the pre-overhaul version of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." (Esquire)

Eleventh hour: Chinese officials take issue with the methods by which artist Ai Wei Wei is trying to pay the tax-related fines they say he owes. (The Guardian)

Defections: Prima ballerina Natalia Osipova and principal dancer Ivan Vasiliev are leaving the Bolshoi Ballet to work with the Mikhailovsky Theatre's new artistic director, Nacho Duato. (The Guardian)

Staying put: Only a handful of the exhibitions in the Getty-sponsored Pacific Standard Time initiative of postwar California art will go on to other institutions. (Los Angeles Times)

Music mania: Banda musicians -- Mexican brass bands that play at parties and nightclubs -- are experiencing Southern California's "tuba revolution." (Los Angeles Times)

Mark your 2012 calendars: "Smash," NBC's eagerly awaited series about the birth of a (fictitious) Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, will premiere Feb. 6. (

Singing their praises: Two Americans were among the winners of Abbey Road Studios' international  Anthem Competition. (Abbey Road)

Summing up: LACMA releases attendance figures for its popular "Tim Burton" exhibition, saying it was the fifth most popular show in the museum's history. (Los Angeles Times)

Hanging around: A long-lost Victorian painting by William Powell Frith that hung in a family's New England beach house for half a century could fetch $800,000, Christie's said Tuesday. (Associated Press)

Another take: The nation's Manhattan-based premiere financial newspaper attends the MOCA-Marina Abramovic gala and offers its view of the proceedings. (Wall Street Journal)

Quick change: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's chief executive resigned abpruptly Monday, with a replacement named the same day. (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Mark Swed reviews the New West Symphony and Rick Ginell reviews of Los Angeles Master Chorale.

-- Kelly Scott and Sherry Stern

Photo: Raul Esparza won a best actor Ovation playing a preacher in "Leap of Faith" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Credit: Craig Schwartz / Center Theatre Group/Associated Press

Monster Mash: Christie’s auction breaks record; 'Spider-Man' suit

November 9, 2011 |  7:30 am


Auction turnaround: Christie's sold 82 works of art for $247.59 million on Tuesday, including a world auction record of $43.2 million for Pop Art by Roy Lichtenstein. (New York Times)

Turn on the lawyers: Director Julie Taymor, who was fired as the creative leader of "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark," has sued the show's producers. (Los Angeles Times)

Mother's pain: The mother of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has accused officials of hounding her son, describing their approach as "creepy, crooked, evil." (Guardian)

Saving the day: Grants for the Arts -- a program funded by a small surcharge on every hotel bill -- is  keeping San Francisco culture afloat. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Taking a stand: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art did something unusual: It effectively came out in favor of marriage equality. (Modern Art Notes)

New festival: The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is announcing its first "Off Center Festival"  with minimalism and eclecticism among the creative approaches. (Los Angeles Times)

Musically minded: Conductor Mark Wigglesworth on what makes some works more popular than others. (Gramophone)

Cheers: Who are the most influential people in London theater, dance, and art and design? (London Evening Standard)

Up and comers: Annaleigh Ashford and MJ Rodriguez of "Rent," Jennifer Damiano of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" and Josh Grisetti of "Enter Laughing" are finalists for the Clive Barnes Award. (Playbill)

New world: Four ways that YouTube has changed Broadway. (Mashable)

Also in the L.A. Times: A review of "Hope: Part II of a Mexican Trilogy" at Los Angeles Theater Center, and catching up with computer music pioneer Carl Stone.

-- Sherry Stern

Image: "I Can See the Whole Room … and There's Nobody in It!" (1961) by Roy Lichtenstein sold for a record $43.2 million. Credit: Christie's

Fifty years ago this fall, San Francisco leaders got a novel idea to put a small surcharge on every hotel bill to fund city arts programs. Grants for the Arts

'Spider-Man' producers respond to Taymor suit

November 8, 2011 |  4:12 pm

"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark"
Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris issued a statement Tuesday afternoon responding to Julie Taymor's suit over her role in the troubled but popular Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark."

Taymor, who was fired from the musical last March during a protracted preview period, sued the show's producers Tuesday, claiming her creative rights were violated and that she wasn't compensated for her work. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, states that she is entitled to profits from the show as it was largely her creation, according to the Associated Press.

"Since Ms. Taymor's departure in March, we have repeatedly tried to resolve these issues," Cohl and Harris' statement said. "The production has indeed compensated Ms. Taymor for her contribution as a co-book writer. Fortunately, the court system will provide, once and for all, an opportunity to resolve these issues. We look forward to a resolution in which everyone is properly compensated for their contribution to "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.' "

Taymor, who worked for years with U2 musicians the Edge and Bono and co-writer Glen Berger to create the show's music and book, was replaced by Philip William McKinley. Bono and the Edge stayed with the production to revamp their songs, while playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa came in to help revise the book.


Julie Taymor sues producers of 'Spider-Man' musical

Spidey's raw deal: Julie Taymor, Peter Brook and Merce

Julie Taymor talks about Spider-Man to TCG

-- Kelly Scott and John Horn

Photo: Reeve Carney as Spider-Man in the Broadway musical. Credit: Jacob Cohl


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.