• Wed, Jan 5 2011

All The Things That Have Gone Wrong With ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’

Julie Taymour and Bono/The Edge‘s musical spectacular Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark just can’t catch a break. The most expensive production in Broadway history has been plagued with disasters from its beginning, suffering date changes, technical malfunctions and a series of harrowing injuries — to the point that people have begin referring to the production as a doomed endeavor. So what, exactly, has gone wrong with Spider-Man? Here’s a round-up of all the set-backs:

• The musical was initially scheduled to open in early 2010, but was pushed back by nearly a year. The date change caused two actors to pull out: Evan Rachel Wood, who was supposed to star as Mary Jane, and Alan Cumming set to play the Green Goblin.

• The show was pushed for the second time in December of 2010, to allow producers to make changes to the structure of the play. It’s now scheduled to open in February.

• The first injury affected a stunt double who was hurt during rehearsals. Kevin Aubin broke both of his wrists while performing a flying trick.

• Another stuntman was injured during rehearsals as well. This double broke a toe and damaged his foot — injuries he sustained on separate occasions.

• The musical’s only scheduled dress rehearsal was shut down for technical reasons.

• The play’s initial preview suffered many stops and starts due to technical issues. Patrons were extremely critical of these problems; one woman called the performance a “dress rehearsal” instead of a preview. Maybe that’s because there wasn’t actually a dress rehearsal.

Natalie Mendoza, who played villainess Arachne, suffered a concussion during the play’s first preview performance after a piece of equipment fell on her head. She didn’t report the accident to producers until later and continued performing against her doctor’s orders. However, she recently left the play — assumedly based on fear of another injury — giving her role over to actress T.V. Carpio.

• During December 20th’s performance, Spider-Man stunt double Christopher Tierney free-fell 30 feet after a support cable malfunctioned. He suffered broken ribs and internal bleeding, and family members have commented that they don’t know when he’ll be able to work again. After this injury, the show was shut down temporarily to reassess safety measures.

• After all that work, nobody who’s seen Spider-Man actually seems to like it! Viewers have been extremely critical of the play and the music has been reported as being only “60 percent there.”

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