Broadway's accident-prone 'Spider-Man': Will it be worth the trouble?
The web of misfortune is spreading for 'Spider-Man.' A stunt double is hospitalized; performances are canceled; officials are investigating; and on Broadway, rumbles of anger are getting louder.
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But despite such high-flying talent and ambition, it is more rock than roll at the moment. The production faces a spreading web of misfortunes that is casting an ominous shadow over the teen superhero’s leap to the Great White Way.
In the fourth serious injury of the production so far, a Spider-Man stunt double fell 30 feet Monday night and remains hospitalized in serious condition. Government officials from OSHA and the New York Department of Labor have opened an investigation, and Wednesday’s matinee and evening performances were canceled.
The show’s official open date has been pushed back yet again, currently to February 7. Cost overruns reportedly have pushed the budget to some $65 million, nearly twice Broadway’s most expensive musical to date, “Shrek.”
But of course, this is live theater and Broadway is infamous for falling scenery and mishaps both offstage and on, right?
This is different, say a growing chorus of veteran Broadway watchers. Most troubling – particularly to audiences who have been paying premium prices to watch a show-in-process that has halted performances to tweak technicalities more than a few times – is the sense that this is a train wreck that won’t come right in the end.
'An unmitigated disaster'
“No matter how anyone tries to spin, it has been an unmitigated disaster,” says Adam Kluger, a New York public relations pro who adds that he has never seen a production with so many technical problems and serious injuries. The latest injury to the stuntman, Christopher Tierney, he says, “has enraged members of the Broadway community who are wondering if someone has to die on stage before the production is shuttered.”