"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has been a troubled production since it began, but it's hardly the first show to take a toll on its actors. NY1's Frank DiLella filed the following report.
It may be the theater but the drama is real. In the final moments of Broadway's latest mega-musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" an actor plummeted 30 feet from a platform during Monday night's performance. This isn't the first time the musical has seen an injured actor as a result of a special effect, and the spidey production is not alone in the history of Broadway.
In 2005, in her second to last performance, actress Idina Menzel fell through the trap door of Broadway's "Wicked." And in 2008, Broadway vet Adrian Bailey fell 35 feet through a trap door on a set piece right before the opening scene in "The Little Mermaid."
While Menzel recovered, Bailey was forced to retire from the performing arts prematurely. Attorney Alan Shapey, who represents Adrian Bailey, faults the scenic and automation companies with Bailey's incident and says that there needs to be multiple safety systems in place for Broadway shows tackling epic stunts.
"There must be systems in place that anticipate the way a system can fail and there must be redundant safety systems, so if one system fails there's another one in place," Shapey said. "It's just unacceptable to expose a performing artist to a 30 or 35 foot unprotected fall without appropriate safety devices in place."
Actors in the New York theater community are obviously shaken up by Monday's event. "Spider-Man" actress Natalie Mendoza, who was also injured during the production, Tweeted, "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."
Veteran producer Ken Davenport says that it seems like the production team is taking the proper action with going on from here.
"They've been very responsive from everything that I've read about being very clear that safety is their number one priority," he said. "And we are blessed with working with not only some of the greatest stagehands in the world and the greatest designers in the world and union reps that are watching this stuff very closely."
And while "Spider-Man" actor Christopher Tierney remains hospitalized, the spokesperson for the show said that the musical will continue to spin its web on Broadway.