Another Actor Injured In The Spider-Man Broadway Musical
We've covered the lavish Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark from time to time here, mostly charting its constant delays, ballooning budget, and the general sense that this is a disaster in the making. The show has also faced setbacks in the form of a string of injuries, to the stunt people actors performing the many flying tricks in the show. They've already delayed the official opening to February in order to accommodate both safety tweaks and changes to the play itself, but last night the show may have hit its biggest, most high-profile setback yet. As reported widely on Twitter and summed up well in The New York Times, the actor playing Spider-Man during last night's performance fell 8 or 10 feet into a pit when his safety harness failed during a key stunt.
Though Reeve Carney is the main actor playing Spider-Man, the role is filled in by several different stunt people when he has his mask on; the actor believed to have fallen last night is Christopher Tierney, an "aerialist and ensemble member in the musical." There's actually video of the accident at the Times blog, in which you see the actress playing Mary Jane dangling from a rope after being tied up by the Green Goblin (the villain apparently played by a giant cardboard cutout). Mary Jane falls into the pit and screams (part of the performance) and Spidey jumps down after her at an alarming speed. You can hear the actor hit the floor and the actress start to scream before the video cuts off. It's a little disturbing, though reports from the hospital say Tierney is in stable condition.
Given the amount of money sunk into the production already-- Turn Off the Dark needs to sell out every performance fro a year in order to turn a profit-- and how high-profile its delays have been, it's no surprise the producers are anxious to move forward with as many money-making preview performances as possible. But with this being the fourth injury to an actor, and the show not even officially open yet, you've got to wonder if they're somehow cutting safety corners in order to turn a profit. The Times reports that the union Actors Equity is "working with management and the Department of Labor to ensure that performances will not resume until back-up safety measures are in place.” Hopefully they'll be able to step in and convince the producers that their actors' safety is more important than making money off this mishegoss, but honestly, I wonder if it's not time to just cut some losses and back away before these injuries get even worse.
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