Actor Injured During “SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK”

It seems we may soon have a contender for that Scottish play which shall not be named. During last night’s performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (aka that Spider play) a rope holding up one of the actors playing Spider-Man snapped and the actor fell several feet into the pit. This was at a moment when the actor was supposed to be diving at the stage, so the audience seemed unaware until the actress playing Mary Jane started screaming for someone to call 911. More than one actor plays Spider-Man during the performance so the mask did its job concealing the identity of the battered aerialist.

The incident occurred during a climactic scene where Spider-Man dives off a platform to rescue MJ. Someone in the audience shot a video as it happened but the house lights black out almost instantly so there’s little information to be gleaned from viewing it. However, I’m including an image snagged from that video by the New York Times which seems to show the moment where it all went wrong. The audience was told there’d be a delay in the show, then told that the show was over as ambulances arrived on the scene.

Having already been plagued with injuries, the show’s official release is being pushed back a month so changes can be made. Is it possible that a live theater experience involving such a high-action web-swinger is unfeasible? Stage actors don’t have the benefit of CG. If I’ve done the math right, I was actually at the climbing gym when this happened and I can understand the difficulty and tension that can arise from trusting one’s body to a rope with a fancy knot tied to a harness. It’s tough to imagine complicating that with more intense fast-paced maneuvers that are attempting regularly by the Turn Off The Dark crew.

I’m sure we all wish the actor, tentatively identified via Twitter as Christopher Tierney, a speedy recovery. As for the show? I’m conflicted. If everything kept going well I’d probably wouldn’t go see it. However, with all these problems it’s almost becoming too good to pass up. Obviously I don’t want to see anyone get hurt but if these stunts are so risky that people are getting injured regardless of all the safety prep maybe the show really is something to behold. What about you, iFanbase? Were you excited by the musical but turned off by the threat of injury? Will you simply buy your tickets for a few rows back so you’re don’t wind up with an actor in your lap? Let’s hear it in the comments!

UPDATE – Fellow staff writer Matt Addler found some follow up stating that Federal workplace safety officials will unsurprisingly be continuing their ongoing investigation concerning the performances safety. Furthermore, the Actors' Equity union is trying to stop future performances until backup safety measures are installed.


Ryan Haupt went a NASCAR race one time, it was kind of boring. He does all his own stunts for his podcast Science… sort of.


  1. I heard about this on the news this morning. This thing seems doomed before it ever began. I really hope they can bounce back from all the bad publicity.

  2. As a rock climber, I am amazed/appalled that a “rope could snap” in what is a controlled environment. There’s always the possibility of a freak accident, but it’s so rare, I can’t help but think the rope snapped due to negligence. Scary stuff.

  3. With the millions invested there’s no way they could scrap this but wow.

  4. As a technical theater geek, I can only imagine the headaches that all this stuff is giving the crew. But seriously, what’s the total of hurt people now? 2? 3? i understand that they’ve poured a lot of money into it already, but cut your losses and run, man

  5. It is sad that someone got hurt, but I do have to think that the stunts will be cool. I would go see it if I had the chance.

  6. Yikes, that video clip makes it look less like a rope snap than it being cut by the edge of the platform.   Not saying it was, just looks that way.   If this was a Universal detective show of the eighties I’d say it was definitely sabotage.  Or an episode of Scooby Doo.

  7. Considering that once they open this show there will be multiple performances a week, somebody’s going to end up with a serious, life-altering altering injury if this thing doesn’t get either shut down or overhauled.  The producers don’t seem to be willing to do it so OSHA or whoever’s investigating needs to step in.

  8. Don’t they routinely do this kind of stuff in the circus and Cirq Du Soliel (sp)?

  9. Lol In my head I keep seeing Stan running around in a “Phantom” mask backstage and in the rafters, weakening ropes, and mucking with the lights.

  10. Peter David had a lot of nice things to say about the stunt work over on his blog, if not the story and narrative execution.

  11. I can’t help but feel that anyone who’d pay money to see this doesn’t deserve to have any money at all.

    I cannot comprehend the desire to see this tragedy beyond schadenfreude.

  12. We’re almost at the point where people want to see this just so they can see someone die on stage.

    Why is no one attempting to stop this? Sure we have ‘investigations’ going but why have them!? 4-5 actors have been badly hurt because of this b.s. production. What more proof do you need that this is unsafe for actors!?

  13. I can’t believe some people are being so cavalier about this. The actor is in a hospital in serious condition with broken ribs and internal bleeding. It could have been much worse. Is there an adult present in the creative or business team on this production? Maybe they figure they’ll roll the dice and hope they don’t end up with a lawsuit. The show isn’t cursed. It is a production that is testing the limits of engineering and technology–and ought to be scaled back or cancelled completely.

  14. @cahubble09  –i agree…its the internet. Its cool to be a complete a##hole with flippant comments when someone else gets seriously hurt. 

    @TheNextChampion  — all of those actors should be in Actors Equity or something….you’d think the Union would step in…

  15. If anything, you’d think Taymor would try to keep this hush hush. But to me, and this is only my opinion, it feels like she thinks it’s good publicity that all of these people are getting hurt. I know the saying ‘any publicity is good publicity’ but at what cost to a person’s life?

    I’m shocked more actors haven’t just left the show. Granted a good few did in the early days, but now if I was the actor(s) playing Spider-Man I’d either want a shit load of money for all this danger or just walk right out. 

  16. Oh well, people make choices with their risky work. I’m glad it’s being investigated and then people can decide what actually caused the accident and if something needs to be done. These performers obviously believed in what they were doing and I think they might think it a shame if it couldn’t be shown. I do hope he gets better, though.

  17. Wednesday matinée cancelled … 

  18. I’m disappointed that only the matinee is cancelled. It should be cancelled until they fully fix EVERYTHING.

    I doubt they will be able to fix every single thing about the production in a couple of hours. But still, thankfully someone came in finally to tell Taymor and Bono that they are not Gods and need to fucking care about their actors. 

  19. @Unoob  Excelsior!

  20. Ryan Haupt went a NASCAR race one time,”

    went a NASCAR


  21. *UPDATE* Spider-Man actor walking again walking again after back surgery. 

    “can’t wait to return to the role despite injuries…”