American Idiot's Joshua Kobak, Former Turn Off the Dark Stuntman, Takes Legal Action Against Spider-Man
By Michael Gioia
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark former stuntman and original cast member Richard Kobak, who claims he was injured during his run with the Broadway musical, is taking legal action against Spider-Man producers, according to the New York Times.
Kobak—also known as Joshua Kobak and currently appearing as St. Jimmy in the North American tour of Green Day's American Idiot— said that he sustained two herniated discs, a concussion, whiplash and holes in both knees as a result of errors by crew members in charge of programming the aerial rigging computer.
Last winter, the performer filled in for stuntman Christopher Tierney, who was injured at the Dec. 20, 2010, performance after falling 30 feet at the Foxwoods Theatre. Kobak claims that because of the weight difference between himself and Tierney, he alerted the production's aerial designer, Scott Rogers, that the computer system needed to be recalibrated to soften his landings on stage after flight sequences.
The computer correction was not made until Kobak had completed 16 performances of Spider-Man and numerous rehearsals. The performer said that the hard landings created a .14 cm hole in his right knee and a .9 cm hole in his left knee. Additionally, Kobak sustained a flying-related injury last April when the computer program controlling a jump from the balcony sent him flying into a wall; he suffered two herniated discs, whiplash and a concussion.
In legal papers filed in State Supreme Court in New York April 3, a lawyer for Kobak asked the Spider-Man producers for documents, e-mail and other material dealing with the computer system.
Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for the show, said in a statement, "The producers have no comment on the matter except to wish Mr. Kobak, who is currently in the American Idiot tour, well."
Numerous actors have been injured in the much-in-the-news production since rehearsals began over a year ago.
Spider-Man features creative consultation by Philip William McKinley, original direction by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor, music and lyrics by 22-time Grammy Award winners Bono and The Edge, and book co-written by Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Inspired by over 40 years of Marvel comic books, Spider-Man, according to press notes, "follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose unremarkable life is turned upside-down when he's bitten by a genetically altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to his bedroom ceiling. This bullied science-geek suddenly endowed with incredible powers soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility as villains put both his physical strength and strength of character to the test."
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