‘Spider-Man’ Musical Performances Resume as Actors Attack
Christopher Tierney’s prognosis is good, but the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark stunt-double’s condition is nevertheless considered “serious” as he remains in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital with broken ribs following a malfunctioned fall from 20-30 feet into the orchestra feet at Foxwood Theatre, apparently caused by human error. Although one matinee was cancelled in the wake of the aerialist’s terrible Monday night accident, performances of Turn Off the Dark are to resume Wednesday evening as scheduled. These recent events have prompted comment by the musical’s director, Julie Taymor, as well as extremely critical remarks from within the acting community, with one Broadway performer suggesting Taymor should be incarcerated for her role in the plainly hazardous production.As detailed in ComicsAlliance’s review of a Turn Off the Dark preview performance, the Spider-Man musical features truly harrowing aerial stunts previously unseen in a musical theatre context. Superhero battles between Spider-Man and his enemies take place not just on stage but directly above the heads of the audience members, or even right in front of them if they’re seated in Foxwood’s balcony. Our Brian Childs wrote, “Besides looking fantastic, there is also an element of genuine fear when you watch them fight — and that was even before the recent two-story fall. There were moments in the battles where Spider-Man was knocked out of the air and landed, hard, in the aisles between startled patrons.”
Players in America’s National Football League endure a 100% injury rate. While obviously not that dire (yet), danger and damage appear to be a necessary consequence of the impressive Spider-Man stunts in Turn Off the Dark. Poor Christopher Tierney’s fall marks the fourth major injury to a performer in the Marvel musical, following other incidents where wrists were broken and heads were concussed.
Julie Taymor discussed the Tierney situation in an official statement:
An accident like this is obviously heartbreaking for our entire team and, of course, to me personally. I am so thankful that Chris is going to be alright and is in great spirits. 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.
But for others in the Broadway community, particularly actors, Taymor’s platitudes are just that. The Hollywood Reporter compiled a number of public remarks from outraged performers who’ve witnessed their colleagues fall victim to the actor-maiming beast that is Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
“They should put Julie Taymor in jail for assault! I hope [actor Christopher Tierney] is ok and sues the sh*t out of Julie, Bono, Edge and every other a**hole who invested in that steaming pile of actor crippling sh*t!” – Adam Pascal, star of Rent.
“Does someone have to die? Where is the line for the decision makers, I am curious. Spider-Man should be ashamed of itself. This is completely unacceptable and embarrassing to working actors everywhere.” – Alice Ripley, Tony Award-winning star of Slide Show.
“I wish employment for all my friends. But I wish them safety and security in their employment even more.” – Marc Kudisch, star of 9 to 5.