Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark has added another cast member to its injury list, with last night’s performance being halted minutes before the final scene and the audience being quickly ushered out of the Foxwoods Theater after an actor took
an 8 to 10-foot a 30-foot fall headfirst into a pit. The New York Times has video of the fall, in which Spider-Man (being played by someone other than lead Reeve Carney) dives off a platform after Mary Jane (Jennifer Damiano)—an intentional stunt that goes wrong when his safety rope appears to follow him. [UPDATE: It has since been clarified that he was never supposed to leave the platform. See below.]
According to various tweets from audience members, Damiano was soon heard “screaming and sobbing” in the darkness, then yelling, “Someone call 911!” The house lights came up, followed by an announcement that the show would be delayed; moments later another announcement was made that the show was over, and the audience was asked to leave. Ambulances and a fire truck were waiting outside, and the actor was soon brought out on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace. An e-mail from the show’s publicist offered assurance that “all signs were good” as he was being taken in for observation.
Not long after, Turn Off The Dark co-star Natalie Mendoza—who recently sustained a concussion during the show’s ill-fated first preview—sent out a tweet saying, “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.” Based on this, the NYT figured out that the injured performer was aerialist Christopher Tierney, and Bellevue Hospital has since confirmed that a patient by that name had been admitted.
There’s no word yet on what this latest accident will mean—if anything—to the production, which recently had its opening delayed until Feb. 7 in order to make certain creative changes, and work out its various kinks, such as the ever-present threat that someone’s going to die. Hey, Julie Taymor: It’s not too late to pack it in and just put on a nice production of Our Town. Everyone likes Our Town.
UPDATE: Broadway World has received a statement from the Actors Equity union, which says that it is working with management and the Department of Labor to ensure that all Turn Off The Dark performances are halted "until back-up safety measures are in place." It also clarified with a stagehand that Tierney's fall was not supposed to happen at all, and that the drop was much worse than originally reported: "He was supposed to run to top of the ramp as if to jump with the lights then set to go to black. The cable that snapped is what stops him from going over the edge, and that is what failed. He then fell approximately 30 feet."
SECOND UPDATE: The New York Times now reports that Tierney "sustained broken ribs and suffered some internal bleeding," and that Taymor has visited him in the hospital—so that's nice. It also says that the show is still scheduled to resume with matinee and evening performances tomorrow, though it's unclear yet on whether today's investigation by the Department of Labor will end up canceling those.
THIRD UPDATE: Wednesday's performances are back on, with producers saying they will enact certain new safety measures ordered by the Department of Labor, though it was not specified exactly what those measures would be. The investigation even got noticed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said, "Hopefully, they'll get all the bugs out. I'm told it's phenomenally complex, which is one of the reasons that it's going to be such a great show." Thinking positively, that's Michael Bloomberg.