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‘Aida’ previews continue after weekend accident

Headley, Pascal injured by falling set piece

CHICAGO — Walt Disney Theatricals’ “Aida” is expected to resume preview performances in Chicago Wednesday night after a technical calamity over the weekend resulted in slight injuries to the lead actors in this production of the Elton John-Tim Rice musical and the cancellation of Sunday’s performances.

Heather Headley and Adam Pascal were injured Saturday when the tomb set piece in which they were ensconced crashed onto the stage floor after a cable snapped during the penultimate scene of the show. Eyewitnesses reported hearing the sound of grinding metal, followed by the sight of the actors falling to the floor.

Breaking the fourth wall

After several seconds of silence, an announcement over the public address system asked if there was a doctor in the house. The performance did not continue. Audience members told local television stations that the incident was “terrifying.”

Although both actors were hospitalized Saturday night, a spokesman for the show said Monday that the performers’ injuries were slight and amounted mainly to minor bruising. Headley and Pascal were both treated and released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The previous incarnation of “Aida,” at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, was also beset by technical difficulties that resulted in the postponement of opening night. In Chicago, critics are not being invited to Robert Falls’ Broadway-bound production until Dec. 9.

It was not known Monday whether Headley and Pascal would appear at Wednesday’s scheduled preview. A spokesman said understudies were standing by.

‘Madness’ malaise

This was a rough weekend for Chi legit. In an unrelated development elsewhere in the Loop, the show “Shear Madness” closed its doors at the Mayfair Theater after 17 years. The interactive comedy, which may yet reopen in another venue, was the innocent victim of code violations at the Blackstone Hotel, which houses the theater.

After 7,114 consecutive performances (making the hair-salon comedy Chicago’s longest-running show by far), producer Bruce Jordan decided Friday night that the venue was no longer safe for either the cast or audience members.

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