Tighter safety for Spider-Man show


The Edge and Bono have written the songs for the accident-prone Broadway musical Spider-Man

The curtain is going up again on Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark after the producers of the accident-prone Broadway musical agreed to new safety measures following a fall that left a stuntman seriously injured.

The state Labour Department said it was satisfied the producers of the £42 million musical had made the necessary adjustments.

Wednesday night’s performance was cancelled so the cast and crew could rehearse the new precautions, which include a requirement that a second person ensure that the harnesses used by performers during the show’s high-flying stunts have been put on properly.

The much-anticipated production, teaming Lion King creator Julie Taymor with songwriters Bono and The Edge of U2, has had a rocky route to Broadway.

Already the most expensive show in Broadway history, it has been plagued by technical glitches, money woes and three other injuries, including a concussion and two broken wrists.

The show has been in previews for a month and its official Broadway opening has twice been postponed. It is now set for early February.

The fourth accident came on Monday night, when Christopher Tierney, a stunt double playing Spider-Man, plunged about 30ft into a stage pit, despite a safety harness that should have prevented the spill. Mr Tierney was due to undergo back surgery, his brother Patrick said.

“At this point we are satisfied they have put in place the appropriate controls,” said Maureen Cox, director of safety and health for the New York State Department of Labour.

State officials had no authority to close the show but could have disallowed the heart-stopping stunts that make it special. The musical has 38 separate moves in which actors are put in harnesses to go up in the air.

Ms Cox said an investigation was continuing into precisely what went wrong in Mr Tierney’s accident and who is to blame. Investigators say they are looking into whether it was caused by equipment failure or human error.

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