Producers announced late Wednesday afternoon that the evening’s scheduled reopening of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark at the Foxwoods Theatre would not take place, the latest setback to the troubled production. This week, a fourth actor was injured while performing in the show, shutting down the production Tuesday night and the Wednesday matinee. It was to re-open Wednesday night, but its future may now be in jeopardy.
Christopher Tierney, 31, the show’s top aerial stuntman, is recovering at Bellevue Hospital from broken ribs and internal bleeding after his harness failed and he fell 30 feet into the orchestra pit during Monday night’s performance, reports the New York Post.
Tierney is expected to recover. But local, state and federal officials are investigating the working conditions at the show, and several big names in the theater community have angrily called for the reputedly $65 million production, directed by The Lion King‘s Julie Taymor and with music by Bono, to be permanently shut down.
“Spiderman should be ashamed of itself. This is completely unacceptable and embarrassing to working actors everywhere,” Tony-winning actress Alice Ripley wrote on Twitter. “Does someone have to die?”
Adam Pascal, Rent‘s original leading man, added on Facebook: “They should put Julie Taymor in jail for assault!”
Tierney’s accident follows three others – one actress suffered a concussion during a preview performance when she was hit by equipment in the wings, and two other stunt doubles were injured during flying sequences in rehearsals.
In a statement, Taymor called Tierney’s accident “heartbreaking” and said she was “thankful” his injuries were not more serious, according to the Daily News. She added: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our Spider-Man family.”
Producers have agreed to review “safety protocols” and are pressing to continue the production, the most costly in Broadway history.