Third actor injured playing Spider-Man in musical
December 21st, 2010
08:15 PM ET

Third actor injured playing Spider-Man in musical

The Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" is still in previews, which doesn't explain all the publicity, but may have something to do with the accidents and injuries to cast members.

News that an actor was seriously injured in a fall during Monday night's show is the latest in a series of cast injuries, technical difficulties and delays to beset the ambitious production, which involves the biggest budget in Broadway history, lots of aerial stunts and U2 frontman Bono. 

Monday's accident was the third to befall a performer wearing a Spidey mask (nine performers play the masked Spider-Man due to the physical rigors of the role). Another cast member also suffered a concussion during the first preview performance, according to the New York Times.

"An accident  like this is obviously heartbreaking for our entire team and, of course, to me  personally," the show's director, Julie Taymor, said in a statement.

"Nothing is more important than the safety of our "Spider-Man" family and we'll continue to do  everything in our power to protect the cast and crew."

Before Monday's accident, Taymor had noted that other bad press hadn't affected the box office, and many fans say they are still anxious to see the show.

Actor Christopher Tierney's fall on Monday came three weeks after actress Natalie Mendoz, who plays the villain Arachne, suffered a concussion offstage during the first preview performance when she was struck in the head by a piece of equipment, the New York Times reported. That injury came little more than a month after the newspaper reported injuries to two other cast members who don the Spidey mask for stunts.

The show has earned several dubious distinctions since rehearsals began this summer, and a number of maxims and superlatives have been used to describe it, apart from the basic fact that its price tag, at $65 million, makes it the most expensive production in Broadway history.

It has been described as doomed and dangerous and parodied by Conan O'Brien. It is one of the most technically complex shows to appear on Broadway, with one of the longest preview runs, at 10 weeks, after being delayed four times.

It has also been described as one of Brodway's most anticipated productions, owing to the talents of Julie Taymor, the show's Tony and Emmy Award-winning director, whose previous credits include Broadway's "The Lion King" and films "Frida" and "Across the Universe."

iReporter on opening night: Spider-Man attempts to stick to Broadway

U2 fans also have a stake in the show, with bandmembers Bono and the Edge providing music and lyrics.

Taymor brushed off negative reaction to mishaps that befell the show's November 28 preview, from cast members suspended in midair to complaints of a confusing storyline.

"Whenever you do something that's highly technical with computers and flying and this and that ... it takes you a while to figure out all the things that can go wrong," she told CNN in early December in an interview at the premiere of her new movie, "The Tempest."

"In the tradition of previews, you're supposed to be given that four or five weeks to tweak it not just the technical, but also the book and the lyrics."

As for the bad press, she said, "I don't like it but on the other hand, it's not bad for box office.

"Our pre-sales aren't bad and the audiences give us standing ovations," she said. "I keep my focus on the prize which is making the show good. That's the prize and my collaborators and I, we love what we're doing."

Despite the mixed publicity, many die-hard Spidey fans remain undeterred.

"Can't wait to see this play as I'm a big superhero fan," iReporter Marie Sager of California said.

"Any groundbreaking new musical will have tech issues. They will be ironed out," iReporter Allen Mealey, also of California, said.

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Filed under: Showbiz
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. the DARK SIDE of the """Google""" Lunar X Prize ...

    unfortunately, men don't fly ...

    December 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. brad

    Looks to me like the actor jumped off the stage. I didnt see any cable pull him.

    December 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Yeah, he jumped, and the cable was supposed to lower him at a safe speed, but the cable broke. Lucky he's still alive.

      December 22, 2010 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
    • holly

      The cable was supposed to prevent him from going over the edge. The timing of the blackout and motion would leave the audience with the implication that he had jumped after MJ, but he wasn't supposed to fall at all.

      December 22, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |

    being spider man isn't easy.

    December 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Island-50

    Good publicity, Negative long as it makes headline news its out for the public to see.

    December 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    Dr. Bad, where are you? Who set you up? Have you seen your army nurse from New Jersey? Have you traveled with the Clintons lately? Are your troops ok?

    December 21, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Judge

    he forgot how to shot web

    December 21, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Locode

    Without a doubt the most stupid idea for a musical ever. I hope it fails miserably.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dr feelgud

    such a feel good story

    December 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ProtoMan

    @Locode: haha I was thinking the same thing. I just don't put Broadway and Spider Man as a great match. The stunts better be Amazing. I think they're trying to brainwash men and children into coming to see plays now. Can't beat the way a marketing think tank sees $ signs.

    December 21, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Fly

    Leave it to Broadway Producers to turn theater into a sideshow. I hate spiders...

    December 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ProtoMan

    @Cesar: I love a Jersey girl, but sadly I'm aware she doesn't know I exist. Haha There's something about delusions I envy.

    December 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark"? What a stupid name.

    December 22, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Daniel Aguilar

    This musical is revolutionary and bringing the art form of theater to a whole new level. There are to many people who don't understand theater let alone know one thing about it. It is a craft that takes much dedication, patience and practice. if one is going to comment on this production one should see it first before tearing it apart .That is what are problem is in this country we rely too much on the words of others to think for us. Wake up America !

    December 22, 2010 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Oh, put a sock in it Danny boy. This is the third person hurt with the last person is lucky to be alive. There must be some commisioner or agency in New York to shut it down and fine the hell out of them!

      December 22, 2010 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • holly

      As an equity member, I'm fully aware of the practice, patience, and dedication that it takes to be in this industry.
      Nearly losing my life due to safety issues (which classify them as human error or not, there are clearly many) does not fall into any of those categories.
      I've seen the show. I have friends amongst the cast. I'd love to see it succeed and recoup, but it won't. The show is muddled. The music is bland. And they have a lead role so physically bizarre that they have a crew of stuntmen performing it. And even with those stunt men, it is still too physically demanding for Reeve Carney to play at every performance.
      This show is not the new wave of theater, nor should it be. Yes, we've seen that audiences like spectacle and they'll even buy into stunt casting. But to say that a show that is previewing with the majority of their stunts imperfect is the future of theater is ridiculous.
      Of course, it's Julie Taymor and everyone knows she doesn't give a damn about anything but her vision...

      December 22, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar

    @Protoman: Something about a Jersey girl.

    December 22, 2010 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    They should add Shakespere to that musical of Spider Man. To web or not to web, that is the question.

    December 22, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
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