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5:20 PM Update: Local One Issues SPiDER-MAN Statement

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We've just received the following statement from James J. Claffey, Jr., President of Local One IATSE. "The leadership of Local One IATSE met today with OSHA, the New York State Department of Labor, Actors Equity Association, and Spider-Man management," said James J. Claffey, Jr. President of Local One IATSE. "The union will continue to pursue the highest level of safety on this production. For Local One IATSE, safety is and has always been paramount for everyone on stage and backstage and for the audience in front of the curtain. The union will insist that safety checks and redundancies are added to ensure the safety of everyone involved in Spider-Man. The union also sends its best wishes to stuntman Christopher Tierney and its hopes for his rapid recovery."

Actors' Equity Association released a statement saying that they "worked today with the Department of Labor, OSHA and the production to determine that the cause of the accident at last night's performance of Spiderman was, in fact, human error. Further protocols are now being implemented, including redundancies recommended by Equity, the DOL and OSHA, to address this situation as well as other elements of the production. Equity continues to vigilantly monitor the production for the safety of its members."

An official statement was earlier issued from the production which says that "OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), Actors Equity and the New York State Department of Labor have met with the Spider-Man company today to discuss additional safety protocols. It was agreed that these measures would be enacted immediately.

Tomorrow's matinee has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

Tomorrow evening's, and all subsequent performances will proceed as scheduled."

Twitter was flooded last night shortly after 10:40 PM with messages from audience members at SPIDER-MAN, with word that an actor fell during the middle of Act 2 when a cable snapped. The show was first put on hold, and then cancelled as ambulances arrived on the scene. This morning, the actor has been identified as aerialist Christopher Tierney, who is reported to be in serious, but stable condition. 

At 11:29 AM, Equity has released a statement that "Actors' Equity Association is working with management and the Department of Labor to ensure that performances will not resume until back-up safety measures are in place."

BroadwayWorld has learned from several sources that SPIDER-MAN stuntman Christopher Tierney has suffered several broken ribs and bleeding after his nearly 30-foot free fall on the SPIDEY set last night.  Fortunately, Tierney landed such that he avoided any crippling neck or spinal injury.  He is still being held at the hospital in serious, but stable condition.

For more on Tierney's injuries, click here.

Video of the incident can be seen here.

Earlier, Actors Equity released a short statement about last night's incident, stating that "We were informed shortly after the accident during the performance of Spiderman. We are working in cooperation with the state and city Department of Labor on this situation. We dont have a further statement at this time."

BroadwayWorld.com has also confirmed that the New York State Department of Labor will visit the Foxwoods Theater this morning for its own investigation into what occurred last night that will involve interviews with the production team, as well as a check of all equipment to determine if it was a human or technical error. 

Many performers have contacted BroadwayWorld.com both last night and this morning, urging actors to contact the union individually to suggest that they 'step in' and get more involved with protecting the safety of the actors in this production. 

Fellow actress, Natalie Mendoza, who herself received a concussion in the show wrote on her Twitter after 4am in response: "Please pray with me for my friend Chris, my superhero who quietly inspires me everyday with his spirit. A light in my heart went dim tonight."

BroadwayWorld was the first to report on the incident as we spoke to an audience member who was there, and told us that the incident occurred near the end of the show when the bridge comes down with MJ suspended in the air and Spider-Man goes after her. Basically, she went down and it seemed he went jumping after her. Then you saw the rope come down and then snap back up. Then all of a sudden, the stage manager's voice came on and said that there was going to be a pause. The theatre then stayed dark for a minute or two and then they called the show and brought the house lights back up. 

Our source told us that for most of the audience, there was a moment of "did I really just see that?" foliowed by horror and concern. Coming from where the actor fell, a voice was heard screaming, as well, which was believed to be lead actress Jennifer Damiano's voice. As audience members left the theatre, at least one ambulance and fire truck were seen. 

Another audience member contacted us to tell us that "The person taken away was the person playing Spider-Man at the time. He tried to get up and stagehands told him not to move. I was in the audience and I'm an NY EMT. Although I am not involved with the care of the patient they didn't use a back-board and collar as they brought him out. The ambulance stayed on site longer then expected, which would lead me to believe the injury isn't critical."

This is the show's fourth injury and there's no word on what affect this will have on future performances.  Two shows are scheduled for Spider-Man on Wednesday, there is no word at this time if performances will be cancelled. 

Last night, a representative for the show tells us that "An actor sustained an injury at tonight's performance of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark. He fell several feet from a platform approximately seven minutes before the end of the performance, and the show was stopped. All signs were good as he was taken to the hospital for observation. We will have more news shortly."

We're told via a stagehand that this was NOT a flying sequence and that Spider-Man was NOT supposed to drop at all. He was supposed to run to top of the ramp as if to jump with the lights then set to go to black. The cable that snapped is what stops him from going over the edge, and that is what failed. He then fell approximately 30 feet.


 

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