The Broadway musical, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will be the most expensive musical ever created. The show that has been in the making for six years; it was scheduled to open on December 21 but has been temporarily grounded due to safety concerns for actors who are being catapulted through the air, throughout the performance.
Two weeks ago, an actor broke both his wrists when he was launched from the back of the stage like a slingshot, landing on the lip of the stage. However, this incident was not the cause of the delay. Under New York law, shows like “Spider-Man” are not legally allowed to hold public performances until state inspectors review and approve special effects ("flying" is such a "special effect"). There are two dozen aerial maneuvers in this production, with an unprecedented amount of activity directly above audiences; there are no safety nets in the event that a malfunction occurs. Safety inspectors will need to personally observe a demonstration of each flying and aerial maneuver. Coincidentally, the inspection was scheduled to take place two weeks after the accident, but the “Spider-Man” team was not ready with all maneuvers.
Injuries and accidents are nothing new to theater. Christopher Sieber from “Shrek the Musical” needed physical therapy due to the technical demands in which he performed on his knees for the majority of the show. Christina Applegate broke her foot during a number in the pre-Broadway tryout “Sweet Charity.” Idina Menzel, the original Elphaba of “Wicked,” fell through a trap door during the wicked witch’s melting sequence and broke a rib.
“Spider-Man” is a highly anticipated musical; anticipation is like none ever seen on Broadway. It is also, most certainly, the most expensive musical ever made; with that comes a margin of unknown, perhaps unreasonable, risk to the safety of the actors and the audience. What precautions are being taken? Safety must come first, especially since any mishaps over the audience could lead to potential injuries to innocent bystanders. Unless the production team can show the Department of Labor every stunt; unless these maneuvers are approved this super-hero may never grace a Broadway stage. This production has already cost $60 million and the opening has been delayed until at least early 2011.
We can only hope that if “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” safely opens on Broadway, soon, and that daily safety checks are conducted on all cables, wiring, harnesses, etc. Will this production will ever pass safety requirements? There is a lot of money at stake, here. Let’s assume that all inspections are eventually approved. Is a stage production worth the risk of the potential, serious, danger to the actors and audience? If the show passes inspection, will that be enough for you and yours? Would you take your family to see a production where actors fly over your head, without safety netting? Well, would you?
Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice PAC member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.