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Safety changes made after fall during 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark'

From Jason Kessler, CNN
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Spider-Man musical mishap
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Show's director calls incident "heartbreaking"
  • Wednesday's matinee performance has been postponed, a spokesman says
  • 31-year-old Christopher Tierney is listed in serious condition
  • The New York Fire Department says the man fell 20 to 30 feet

This Just In blog: Three actors injured playing Spider-Man

New York (CNN) -- The stage musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will have new safety protocols when it reopens Wednesday night, following an accident in which a performer fell and suffered serious injuries during a preview, officials said.

Christopher Tierney, 31, is listed in serious condition, said Bellevue Hospital spokesman Steven Bohlen.

Jonathan Dealwis, a tourist from New Zealand who was in the audience, said Tierney fell "about 6 meters," or about 20 feet, Monday night.

Reeve Carney is the actor who plays Spider-Man, but nine people perform Spider-Man's stunts when the character is masked, according to show spokesman Jaron Caldwell.

Dealwis said the accident happened near the end of the show.

"Spider-Man was on a bridge, and Mary Jane was dangling from it," Dealwis said. "I think he was meant to sort of swoop over there, but he just fell off. ... The harness, you could see it just flick off his back and fly backward."

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Afterward, Dealwis said, "it just went black, and the producer came on and said we're going to pause for a moment. You could hear Mary Jane weeping."

A producer then came out and said the show was over, Dealwis said. Some people "clapped awkwardly," and one girl "laughed mockingly," drawing "disapproving glances" from others.

Dealwis said the performer was wheeled away in a neck brace and was alert when he was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Rick Miramontez, another spokesman for the show, issued a statement confirming that the performer fell from a platform and the show was stopped.

"All signs were good as he was taken to the hospital for observation," said Miramontez.

Wednesday's matinee performance was postponed after the incident, Miramontez said, but all subsequent performances will proceed as scheduled.

The Spider-Man company met Tuesday with officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Actors Equity and the New York State Department of Labor to discuss additional safety protocols, he said.

The new unspecified measures will be enacted immediately, he added.

Show director Julie Taymor said the accident was "obviously heartbreaking for our entire team and, of course, to me personally."

"I am so thankful that Chris is going to be all right and is in great spirits," Taymor said in a statement Tuesday. "Nothing is more important than the safety of our Spider-Man family and we'll continue to do everything in our power to protect the cast and crew."

The show, with music and lyrics by U2's Bono and The Edge, is the most expensive in Broadway history, but production has been beset by cast injuries and technical problems.

CNN's John Roberts, Ethel Bass and Logan Burruss contributed to this report

 
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