Following the near-tragic accident two nights ago when "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" stuntman Christopher Tierney fell into the orchestra pit during a preview performance, word spread on the Internet today that the beleaguered musical would suspend performances indefinitely. Rumors of the death of "Spider-Man" were ultimately greatly exaggerated -- only today's matinee and night performances were canceled, and the previews will continue tomorrow night -- but the cast and crew of "Turn Off the Dark" sat down for two hours with director Julie Taymor today to express their concerns and frustrations about safety moving forward.
So far, cast members on the $65 million-and-counting production have suffered everything from concussions to broken ribs and internal bleeding. These are conditions you'd expect to see on an NFL team's injury report, not a Broadway show that's a month and a half away from opening. Today's cast and crew meeting comes a day after producers worked out some new safety measures with federal and state safety inspectors to ensure similar accidents don't happen again, and Taymor reiterated these new measures to the concerned cast.
Tierney's fall came during a stunt that isn't even considered one of the musical's more complex aerial routines. The New York Times reports that Tierney's accident was blamed on "human error"; not only did Tierney slip and fall off the platform prematurely, the wire connected to the stuntman wasn't adequately tethered. Still, if it's these simple stunts that can cause so many problems, as the cast told Taymor today, what dangers then exist when a more complex stunt goes awry? Cast members also voiced concerns that with the musical constantly changing to implement new features -- the script and U2's score are also reportedly being modified before the show's opening on February 7th -- they're having difficulty implementing all the changes.
"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will return to the Foxwoods Theater stage tomorrow night, hopefully incident-free.
- Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark