Tuesday, December 21, 2010

OSHA, Department of Labor Could Squash 'Spider-Man'

Enough is enough, Julie Taymor.

Following yet another serious performer injury—this brings the total to four for everyone keeping track— the Lion King director’s $65 million Broadway catastrophe Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is under investigation by both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the New York State Department of Labor, The Wall Street Journal reports. The show’s producers have agreed to enact more rigorous safety precautions in light of the string of on-set accidents.

Additionally, the Actors’ Equity Association “is working to ensure that performances will not resume until back-up safety measures are in place,” as noted in a statement released by union representatives. This is the first good news about this show I’ve heard since its inception.

According to the article, Spidey stuntman Christopher Tierney, 31, fell more than 20 feet off a platform during the final 10 minutes of Monday night’s preview performance. Reportedly, “someone missed their cue” and forgot to anchor a tether to Tierney’s harness.

As reported by BroadwayWorld, Tierney has suffered several broken ribs and bleeding, and is hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

So let’s recap: This is the most expensive show in Broadway history, the cast (and the audience) is clearly in danger due to an apparent inability to pull off the show’s complex stunts and, based on early reviews, the music sucks (thanks Bono!). Is Turn Off the Dark really worth all of the damage its caused thus far? Do the show’s producers actually need an actor to die onstage before they realize this thing is a bad idea? How about an audience member getting mortally wounded when a stunt goes awry?

The show’s official opening date was already pushed back to Feb. 7 before this latest accident, but these persistent safety issues could push that start date back even further.

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