The April 2 matinee preview performance of Julie Taymor's The Green Bird was interrupted and immediately canceled after a flying wall accidentally struck actor Reg. E. Cathey during a set change.
Cathey, who plays Green Bird's Brighella -- the evil queen's soothsayer -- was struck in the "upper body area" by a wall that was being lowered in the dark, according to a production source.
Though Cathey was not seriously injured and was reportedly joking immediately after the accident, he was nonetheless hospitalized and given x-rays as a precaution. The actor was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He was accompanied enroute by Green Bird stage manager Kristen Harris along with a few fellow cast members. Cathey returns to his role on Tuesday, April 4.
Director Taymor was in the theatre at the time of Cathey's accident and was described as "very concerned, but pleased to find out he was okay."
"He went to the hospital as a precaution and had x-rays taken," the show's spokesperson said. "Because it was early in the previews, there was no understudy prepared to assume the role so the show was canceled." The spokesperson said that Green Bird patrons were given a choice of having their money refunded or being invited back to another performance. "An announcement was made there had been an accident," the spokesperson said, "and people were told that the actor was fine and that no one should worry, even though we had to stop the performance."
According to the production source, most patrons wanted to exchange their tickets for another performance because they had seen enough of the show that they wanted to come back. While there were unfortunate situations where out-of-town patrons were not sure of their future plans, the show spokesperson said that the production would be absolutely accommodating whenever possible.
The show's spokesperson, who coincidentally arrived at the scene just after the accident, said the mishap occurred in the dark during a set change.
"It was just one of those things," the source said, "the actor was hit by a wall that flies in. They just happened to be in the same place at the same time."
The Green Bird started previews April 1 at the Cort Theatre. The show is the director’s first Broadway production since her acclaimed hit, Disney's Lion King. Green Bird open officially on April 18. [The proceeds from a preview performance on April 13 will be dedicated to Save the Children. That benefit show will feature a special Q & A session with the director and cast.]
A double Tony Award-winner for Disney's hit, The Lion King, Taymor’s credits also include the Off-Broadway show, Juan Darien. Taymor has generated tremendous excitement over the years with her mask and puppet work; Taymor not only directs Green Bird, but has created the show's masks and puppets as well.
This is Taymor's second New York production of The Green Bird. Her first production of the show debuted to critical acclaim at Off Broadway's New Victory Theatre in spring 1996. That Theatre for a New Audience production played just 15 performances and garnered Derek Smith an Obie award for acting. Following the New Victory Theatre's limited engagement, Green Bird ran successfully at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Included in the current cast are Didi Conn, Ned Eisenberg, Sebastian Roché, Reg E. Cathey, Edward Hibbert, Katie MacNichol, Kristine Nielsen, Sophia Salguero, Derek Smith, Bruce Turk, Erico Villanueva and Andrew Weems. (Featured in the 1996 production of Green Bird were Trellis Stepter, Priscilla Shanks, Lee Lewis, Weems, Conn, Eisenberg, Myriam Cyr, Roche, Turk, Nielsen, and Villanueva.)
The Green Bird will feature music by Taymor's long time partner and collaborator, composer Elliot Goldenthal.
Tickets for the April 13 benefit run $150 for orchestra/mezzanine and $100 for the balcony. Regular tickets run $45 - $75. Green Bird will run at Broadway's Cort Theatre, located at 138 West 48th Street. For benefit tickets call (800) 844-0526. For Save the Children information call (800) 728-3843. For regular Green Bird information and tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com or the Cort Theatre box office.