On Monday, a cast member in the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark fell 30 feet into an orchestra pit after his safety line broke. The actor, Christopher Tierney, sustained broken ribs and internal bleeding. Tierney's injury is only the latest misfortune to befall the Spider-Man musical: cast members have suffered from concussions and broken bones, actors have departed abruptly, and though the show won't officially open until February 7, it's already run up $65 million in costs, becoming the most expensive play in Broadway history. Onlookers were already wondering whether the show could really be worth all the trouble; now, following Tierney's accident, people are beginning to ask whether Turn Off the Dark doesn't actually constitute a threat to public safety.
This Musical Will Kill Us All The A.V. Club has been beating the drum against Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark for a while now. In a recent post, Sean O'Neal calls it "a Rube Goldbergian deathtrap powered by hubris" and points out that "the production necessitates that the show sell out virtually every show for the next several years to cover its costs."
Stars Speak Out: Ripley... Alice Ripley, who won a Tony in 2009 for her work in Next to Normal, recently tweeted, "SPIDERMAN SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF ITSELF. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE AND EMBARRASSING TO WORKING ACTORS EVERYWHERE." She continued, "DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO DIE? WHERE IS THE LINE FOR THE DECISION MAKERS, I AM CURIOUS."
...And Pascal Meanwhile, Adam Pascal, best known for his work in Rent, took to Facebook to condemn director Julie Taylor and U2's Bono and The Edge, who wrote the show's music and lyrics. Pascal wrote that "
It's time to face facts," writes Freeman. "When is [this] thing going to be scrapped?" Freeman points out that the show is "now known primarily for its failures, its faulty, potentially fatal stage contraptions. And with each new injury--how can there not be another--comes a maelstrom of bad press ... More than anything, this production is starting to feel like the Macbeth, the most cursed of Shakespeare plays, so dangerous that those involved call it simply 'The Scottish Play.'"
Things Have Been Going Wrong for Five Years, The Daily Beast reminds us with a helpful slideshow. From producer Tony Adams's death in 2005 through the latest investigations from the state Department of Labor, it's clear that setbacks have been a part of the musical's story since day one.
Time to 'Cut Our Losses' One investor told the New York Post, "This is a disaster... We should cut our losses and just get out." Another said, "Act One is almost over. Act Two will be in the courtroom."
Milk That Footage Much There, Media? Tierney's fall was caught on video by one theatergoer, and the clip has since appeared on major news networks. Jon Bershad at Mediaite points out that MSNBC's report used the clip "a whopping seven times in 40 seconds." In a Tuesday post, Bershad wrote that "we don't know the nature or severity of Tierney's injuries. He is currently listed as being in 'serious condition' at Bellevue Hospital. So, even though the idea of a $65 million musical about a superhero may get people's blood boiling, perhaps we could cool it with the repeated slow motion shots?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.