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. Cesar

    Oh darn, I can't sleep and gotta yell it to the whole world as misery loves company: I can't sleep! Good night!

    December 22, 2010 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Art In Chicago

    I don't go to live theater to see an action movie, I go to see superb acting. I guess soon we will see "9/11, The Musical" with a planes flying into buildings and actual building collapses on stage.

    December 22, 2010 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      I say boycott the play. Seems profits are more important than the safety of its actors!

      December 22, 2010 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. really?

    3rd actor to be injured? If it wasn't so sad, it'd be funny.Spidy should have spun a web from his asz to catch his fall.

    December 22, 2010 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Extremophil

    I can't believe someone hasn't done a story yet about the "curse of the Broadway Spiderman".

    December 22, 2010 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jim Green

    OSHA should investigate.
    OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation.
    Don't tell me that Broadway is exempt.

    December 22, 2010 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • holly

      OSHA has investigated. In fact, they've investigated multiple times.
      The actor's union has stepped in as well.
      However, when it's the result of human error, and they can prove they have appropriate back up in place/are taking the proper steps, there's not much the union or OSHA can do.

      December 22, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. DB

    Maybe this is a sign that it was s stupid premise for a show to begin with.

    December 22, 2010 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. citixenUSA

    Who had the stupid idea for making Spider-Man into a broadway musical anyway? Not because they would have anticipated the numerous injuries but the sheer stupidity for sure, wouldn't you think? I've been a Web Head since Amazing Fantasy #15 so there is nothing against Spidey.

    December 22, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sharp

    The Flyman screwed up royal. How about this Local #1? Are you professionals or not? A man was hurt. Get your act together, you're making the rest of us look bad.

    December 22, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rob

    Ridiculous. I wouldn't go to see the show for fear that I would be injured just sitting in the audience. Or witness an actors accidental decapitation.

    December 22, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. cavemanstyle

    oops.. watch out for gravity : )

    December 22, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. maniac

    My son went a few weeks ago and said the storyline was indeed confusing. It followed the plot of the movie for the first 20 mins or so and then he said ti was off and he couldn't really follow it. Also if you are in the balcony the special effects aren't as special. Also he complained that there were too many schlocky odes to MJ

    December 22, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. stevie68a

    I really hope that actor who fell recovers. He could be crippled for life. If he makes it, the show will go on, if he doesn't, it
    will close. Even though I'm in New York, going to the theater is a bore. Most shows are for tourists. Yet, I'd like to see this

    December 22, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • holly

      Chris is reportedly suffering from broken ribs and internal bleeding. At this point, it looks as though he will be okay in the long run, but the road to recovery will be pretty painful.

      Fingers crossed that there aren't any other complications.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cheryl

    What worries me is how Taymor's quote : As for the bad press, she said, "I don't like it but on the other hand, it's not bad for box office.

    Oh yeah, someone gets hurt, good for the box office.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • holly

      Also a fan of her "Well yes, it's dangerous and scary but if it isn't you aren't taking risks and it isn't good." theory.

      While I understand the concept applied to both directing and acting in general, she's clearly applied it very literally.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. brown

    Give them a band-aid and get back on schedule!

    December 22, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. Raphael

    This is just a thought, since when are action movies made into musicals?

    December 22, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
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