Dec. 22 Evening Performance of Spider-Man Canceled; Department of Labor Explains New Protocol

News   Dec. 22 Evening Performance of Spider-Man Canceled; Department of Labor Explains New Protocol The Dec. 22 evening performance of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark at the Foxwoods Theatre has been canceled following the Dec. 20 injury of actor Christopher Tierney. The matinee performance had also been canceled.

A scene from Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark
A scene from Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark Photo by Jacob Cohl

A Dec. 22 statement from the show's spokesperson reads, "Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the New York State Department of Labor have agreed on the implementation of additional protocols which will be rehearsed today and this evening. As such, tonight's performance of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark has been cancelled. Performances will resume tomorrow evening (Thursday)."

[Ticket holders for either the Dec. 22 matinee or evening canceled performances who purchased their tickets through Ticketmaster will be automatically refunded. Customers may contact Ticketmaster to purchase tickets for another performance at the same price with similar locations. Customers who purchased tickets for these performances through other sales outlets must contact their point of purchase.]

A spokesperson for the New York Department of Labor explained in a Dec. 22 media conference call the new protocol that will be in place to help ensure the safety of actors in Spider-Man. All 41 maneuvers that involve a tether, rope or wire attached to a harness will now be supervised by at least two stagehands. The first stagehand will make the attachment; the second stagehand will verify that the connection has been made and will also alert the stage manager that it is safe to proceed. The actor involved in the maneuver will also perform a self check and has the right to say if he or she still feels unprepared to perform this stunt; in fact, the spokesperson said, actors are encouraged to speak up if they do not feel safe.

The Department of Labor spokesperson said that most of the maneuvers did not have this redundancy in place prior to the Dec. 20 incident. 

The spokesperson also said that all four injuries were failures of the safety procedures that were in place. This new protocol, the spokesperson said, should resolve these issues. New York Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman, who is chair of the New York State Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, sent a letter to Spider-Man producer Michael Cohl, which reads, in part, "We are contemplating a hearing to explore [the safety issues of the musical], and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss safety on the Spider-Man production as soon as possible." He also urged the producer "not to proceed with any further performances" until various safety measures have been met.

Actors' Equity also released a Dec. 22 statement about safety procedures, which reads, "Actors' Equity is committed to making the theatrical work environment as safe as possible. We start to identify potential risks in new productions as early as possible, examining such potential risk elements as raked stages, smoke and haze, stunts, firearms, flying, and unusual or overly-demanding choreography.

"Equity staff begins looking for these elements with the first readings of early drafts of scripts or production concepts. Our staff is in regular contact with production and stage management as soon as those parties are identified. Our staff has significant experience identifying risk elements and working with the production to develop safety protocols. However technology is rapidly evolving as theatre artists push the boundaries of creativity. As these boundaries expand, we constantly monitor these developments in order to best protect our members.

"As performers well know, the backstage area is a dense, complicated, and fast-moving area of live activity and machinery. In older theatres, we are faced with massive technology jammed into buildings that are over 100 years old. Theatre professionals are expert at making it all work, however, despite these efforts, accidents do occur.

"Every theatrical accident or injury is cause for urgent concern, thorough investigation, and active follow-up. Equity logs each and every accident no matter how seemingly minor or major the circumstance. The database this provides us, yields vital information that shapes our daily procedures as well as preparation of contract proposals."

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Directed by Julie Taymor, the cast is headed by Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Next to Normal Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson and Broadway veteran Patrick Page as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin.

They are joined by Natalie Mendoza, Michael Mulheren, Ken Marks, Isabel Keating, Jeb Brown, T.V. Carpio, Mat Devine, Gideon Glick, Jonathan Schwartz, Matthew James Thomas, Laura Beth Wells, Matt Caplan, Dwayne Clark, Luther Creek, Gerald Avery, Collin Baja, Marcus Bellamy, Emmanuel Brown, Erin Elliott, Dana Marie Ingraham, Ayo Janeen Jackson, Heather Lang, Ari Loeb, Natalie Lomonte, Kevin Loomis, Kristin Martin, Jodi McFadden, Kristen Oei, America Olivo, Jennifer Perry, Kyle Post, Brandon Rubendall, Sean Samuels, Dollar Tan and Christopher Tierney.

Reeve Carney is the front man for the LA-based rock band Carney. Zane Carney (guitar), Jon Epcar (drums) and Aiden Moore (bass), who are also featured in that band, are part of the Spider-Man orchestra.

Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark features a book by Taymor and Glen Berger, and new music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge.

"Drawing from more than 40 years of Marvel comic books for inspiration," Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, according to press notes, "spins a new take on the mythic tale of Peter Parker, a teenager whose unremarkable life in Queens is turned upside-down — literally — when he's bitten by a genetically-altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to the ceiling. Bullied by his classmates and tortured by an unrelenting crush on next-door-neighbor Mary Jane Watson, this science geek discovers he has suddenly been endowed with astonishing powers. He soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility. Maligned by the media, buffeted by financial woes, and stretched thin by the expectations of the world-at-large, Peter now must struggle to navigate the perilous and peculiar demands of being a web-slinging superhero."

The creative team comprises Daniel Ezralow (choreography), George Tsypin (scenic design), Academy Award winner Eiko Ishioka (costume design), Tony Award winner Donald Holder (lighting design), Jonathan Deans (sound design), Kyle Cooper (projection design), Julie Taymor (mask design), Campbell Young Associates (hair design), Judy Chin (makeup design), Scott Rogers (aerial design), Jaque Paquin (aerial rigging design), David Campbell (orchestrations & arrangements), Teese Gohl (musical supervision) and Kimberly Grigsby (music director).

Producers are Michael Cohl & Jeremiah J. Harris, Land Line Productions, Hello Entertainment/David Garfinkle/Tony Adams, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Norton Herrick and Herrick Entertainment, Billy Rovzar & Fernando Rovzar Jeffrey B. Hecktman, Omneity Entertainment/Richard G. Weinberg, James L. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, S2BN Entertainment, Jam Theatricals, The Mayerson/Gould/Hauser/Tysoe Group, Patricia Lambrecht, and Paul McGuinness by arrangement with Marvel Entertainment.

Tickets are priced $67.50-$135 for weekday performances and $67.50-$140 for weekend performances.

Visit SpiderManOnBroadway.

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