UnNews:Snakebitten "Spider-Man" play perseveres

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4 January 2011

Understudy Reeve Carney will wear a furry hat during performances, to protect him from any 45-foot tumbles.

BROADWAY -- Despite a variety of failures, the cast and crew of the Spider-Man stage play say "the show must go on!"

Christopher Tierney, who plays the lead character, said "I love being Spider-Man." He was less assertive at stating his real name after his 45-foot fall into the orchestra pit during a preview, which fractured his skull.

After the dive, he said he was unaware that the vest he had been wearing was a piece of safety equipment. "My interpretation of the character was that Spider-Man was too much of a rebel to completely button his vest," he says.

The show--at $65 million, the most expensive ever on Broadway--has been plagued by failures, from accidents on stage, to a work slowdown at the Sanitation Department that has still not cleared away the six-foot-high snowdrift in front of the theater, to a health crusade by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg that threatens to ban buttered popcorn at the show.

Natalie Mendoza, who got her work-related concussion in November, just bowed out of the production. She says, "The producers need to realize that not everything that happens on the pages of comic books translates well to the stage."

But adversity has not hurt box office. The show sold out for a second week, with an average ticket price of $121. Co-writer Julie Taymor says fans of auto racing are coming down from the Catskills to see the show. "Why sit in the cold and wait for a fatal, blood-spurting multiple crash, when you can do it in a heated building surrounded by celebrities?"

The only blemish on the production is an unpleasant odor, from the gasoline lines installed in the theater to enhance the role of the Human Torch in the upcoming presentation of Fantastic Four.