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'Spider-Man' musical claims another victim [updated]

December 21, 2010 | 12:23 pm

 
Getprev-15 What was once a troublesome trend is now a mini-epidemic: performers being injured in the new musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

In a preview of the long-delayed production Monday night, Christopher Tierney, who performs many of Spider-Man’s most complicated flying stunts, fell an unspecified distance to the stage and had to be taken to a hospital when a harness or wire apparently failed.

A video taken by an audience member posted by the New York Times showed Tierney plunging off an elevated piece of scenery in a scene near the show’s conclusion.

“He fell several feet from a platform approximately seven minutes before the end of the performance, and the show was stopped,” a spokesman for the show said. “All signs were good as he was taken to the hospital for observation. We will have more news shortly.”

[Updated, 12:11 p.m. Tuesday: The show's organizers announced Tuesday afternoon that they were  canceling "Spider-Man's" planned Wednesday matinee but would proceed with its Wednesday evening show.

"The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Actors Equity and the New York State Department of Labor have met with the Spider-Man company today to discuss additional safety protocols," the show's public relations department said in a statement.  "It was agreed that these measures would be enacted immediately.

"Tomorrow's matinee has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Tomorrow evening's, and all subsequent performances will proceed as scheduled."

Citing a person familiar with Tierney's medical condition, the New York Times reported that the actor had broken ribs and some internal bleeding.]

Natalie Mendoza, who plays the musical’s villainess Arachne and suffered a concussion in an earlier production accident, sent a Twitter message which read, "Please pray with me for my friend Chris, my superhero who quietly inspires me everyday with his spirit. A light in my heart went dim tonight.”

The show, at $65 million the most expensive in Broadway history, has been beset by a range of financial, creative and safety problems. In addition to Mendoza’s injury, another actor broke his wrists and yet another actor hurt his ankle.

Last week, its lead producer, Michael Kohl, announced that the show’s opening date was being delayed by four weeks until Feb. 7. The show, directed by “The Lion King’s” Julie Taymor, was at one point to have opened by now.

Actors’ Equity, which represents theater actors and stage managers, said in a statement: “We were informed shortly after the accident during the performance of Spiderman. We are working in cooperation with the state and city Department of Labor on this situation. We don’t have a further statement at this time.”

-- John Horn

Photo: One of the stunts the character Spider-Man performs in the Broadway musical, now in previews. Credit: Jacob Cohl / AP Photo /The O and M Co.

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