Four performers involved in the $65 million Spider-Man musical have been injured so far, and it seems the possibility of witnessing real-life pain or even death has been good for the box office. The show is sold out through the New Year, and the Post reports that "all of the accidents and negative media attention have greatly spurred once-anemic ticket sales. In recent weeks, people have lined up to buy seats." Theatergoer Stephen Johnson tells the tabloid, "Another accident? I hope no one else gets hurt, but it is part of the allure of going." Clearly, producers should follow director Julie Taymor's lead and spice up a boring night of the theater with the promise of some real stage blood. After all, actors are a dime a dozen. Faces of Death: The Musical, anyone?
After Spider-Man's stunt double Christopher Tierney plummeted nearly thirty feet into an orchestra pit Monday night and broke his ribs (video below), producers canceled today's matinee. After an inspection by OSHA, Actors Equity and the New York State Department of Labor, the producers agreed to "new safety protocols," and the show is expected to go on tonight. But some people involved in the production are skeptical that will happen, sources tell the Post that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been probing the production since the beginning of November, which is the first time OSHA has been brought in to examine a Broadway production.
"The cause of the accident at last night's performance of Spiderman was, in fact, human error," the Actors' Equity Association said in a statement. The president of the company that built the aerial equipment for the show explained yesterday that Tierney was supposed to stop at the edge of a bridge above the stage at the end of the show. He tells the Post, "The stage crew would have been responsible for making the connection for hooking him up. The actor is responsible for making the final check that he’s good to go. It’s sort of like packing your own parachute... So he runs and stops and freezes in a position that you wouldn’t normally be able to hold unless you had a little support from behind him. If that’s not hooked up and he leans forward, he’s going to fall forward."
Some investors are calling for the production to close before someone else gets injured. "This is a disaster," one investor told the Post. "We should cut our losses and just get out." Another investor wondered how the show could go on tonight without Tierney, explaining, "He's our top aerialist. I don't know how we could do the show without him." And there's considerable DRAMA in the acting community over the injuries. Tony award-winning actress Alice Ripley tweeted, "DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO DIE? WHERE IS THE LINE FOR THE DECISION MAKERS, I AM CURIOUS." And on Facebook, former RENT star Adam Pascal wrote, "They should put Julie Taymor in Jail for assault! I know what its like to fall and get hurt in front of 2000 people. It's no fun, but at least it was the one time it happened. I hope whoever was hurt is ok and sues the shit out of Julie, Bono, Edge and every other asshole who invested in that steaming pile of actor crippling shit!"