One matinee performance cancelled following actor injury, investigation
Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” has cancelled its upcoming Wednesday matinee following a mid-performance actor injury at “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” that abruptly ended the show Monday night.
But the production is slated to resume perfs Wednesday evening, according to a rep for the show, which has come under new scrutiny from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, legit thesp union Actors Equity Assn. and the Department of Labor.
“OSHA, Actors Equity and the New York State Department of Labor have met with the ‘Spider-Man’ company today to discuss additional safety protocols,” said production rep Rick Miramontez in a statement. “It was agreed that these measures would be enacted immediately,” and after Wednesday, “all subsequent performances will proceed as scheduled.”
Missed matinee will be rescheduled. A Tuesday evening performance was never planned.
Monday night a performer who has been identified as Christopher Tierney, one of the thesps who fills the masked title role alongside lead Reeve Carney, was hurt just prior to the end of the preview performance of the megabudget Broadway musical. Actor was taken to Bellevue Hospital.
Tuesday morning investigators from the New York State Department of Labor arrived at the Foxwoods to interview eyewitnesses and those involved in the production while also taking a look at the tech aspects and other moving parts involved in the incident. “Our role today is to conduct a thorough investigation,” said DOL spokesperson Leo Rosales. “We need to make sure of what happened and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Maria Somma, a rep for Equity, said perfs would be halted until adequate safety precautions were taken. “Actors’ Equity Association is working with management and the Department of Labor to ensure that performances will not resume until back-up safety measures are in place,” she said. Both Equity and the DOL regularly act as watchdogs for the safety of performers in Broadway productions.
It’s not yet apparent exactly what happened Monday night, although eyewitnesses and a video suggest a cable meant to support Tierney either snapped or had been faultily secured. Actor fell several feet — 30 feet, by some estimates — off a ramp during a sequence in which the comicbook hero was to rescue his paramour Mary Jane.
“All signs were good as he was taken to the hospital for observation,” said Miramontez of the injured performer.
Both Carney and fellow cast member Natalie Mendoza logged support for Tierney via Twitter. “Chris Tierney, you are my hero,” Carney wrote.
The injury reps the latest in a string of much-publicized incidents in which thesps in the production have been hurt. Two actors sustained injuries during the preview period, and then during the first performance Mendoza, who plays villainess Arachne, sustained a concussion while she was backstage and has since had to miss shows in order to recover.
Tech-heavy musical features a number of aerial sequences of a sort that have not previously been attempted in a Broadway theater. Boundary-pushing stuntwork has prompted observers to raise issues of actor safety for the performers involved in the high-flying sequences, all of which were approved by the DOL prior to the start of previews.
Musical recently postponed its opening date from Jan. 11 to Feb. 7 to allow time to hone both technical and creative aspects of the production.