Friday, December 03, 2010

Spidertacular Dangers: New Spider-Man Musical in Perilous Previews Fells Three Actors so Far

Natalie Mendoza & understudy America Olivo
Top photo by Jacob Cohl, off the website gotham1st

One blog, gotham1st, is calling Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (the new $65 million musical now perilously previewing in NY) "a great show for understudies." In fact, who knows, when Opening Night finally occurs next Jan. 11, audience may witness a parade of lucky understudies strutting their stuff (perhaps by then more securely attached to safety cables, etc.)

And that's also assuming the show by then has not been de-Spidered by increasingly nervous NY city safety and health inspectors.

Latest to take a tumble is one of the stars, Natalie Mendoza, who is reported to have suffered a concussion the result of being hit on the head by a "safety rope." And this is not trivial news. And I am not laughing. Before the show even uncorked its aerial-intense choreography, two other actors had suffered serious injuries. One was described as an aerialist who broke both of his wrists last month performing a promo presentation for ticket agents.

Maybe it's high time for the producers to call in some circus-savvy pros to take a look at the ethereal executions and supply safer rigging precautions.

This apparently hazardous Julie Taymor-directed production may well end up generating more pre-opening publicity than any other show in Broadway history.

For a while, I was laughing over the incredibly problem-plagued first preview performance last Sunday. I'm now feeling grounded, concerned, and not a little apprehensively sad.

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