An actor whose back was badly hurt when he tumbled from the stage at the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” has been cleared to return to the revamped show and hopes to be swinging over the audience again on opening night in June, a lead producer said Wednesday.
Christopher Tierney, who fell 35 feet (10 meters) into the orchestra pit in front of a shocked preview audience on Dec. 20, got permission from his doctor to rejoin rehearsals beginning Monday, producer Michael Cohl said.
“His back’s fine. They’ve taken the bolts and the nuts and everything out,” Cohl said in an interview.
Tierney, 31, suffered a fractured skull, a fractured shoulder blade, four broken ribs and three broken vertebrae in the tumble. He had to wear a back brace and had eight screws put in his back. His father had said from the family’s New Hampshire home he couldn’t wait to resume performing.
The accident happened when Tierney, who that night had already swung multiple times at 40 mph (64 kph) and wrestled with the Green Goblin over the audience, simply jumped from a raised platform dressed as the webbed hero as the show was wrapping up. But he wasn’t connected to anything.
The $65-million show — the most expensive ever on Broadway — is on hiatus. It began previews in November and was plagued by technical glitches, cancellations, money woes and three other injuries, including a concussion and two broken wrists. It reopens June 14.
In March, Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor left the show and a new creative team was brought in to polish it: director Philip William McKinley, playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, musical consultant Paul Bogaev and sound designer Peter Hylenski.
“Spider-Man” represents Tierney’s Broadway debut, and he vowed after he was injured that he would return. Besides doing the main Spider-Man aerial stunts, he also played the part of a super villain, a bully who torments Peter Parker and a dancer.
He had previously worked with the Houston Ballet, Ballet New England and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, danced in the national tour of Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out” and appeared in the North American premiere of “Dirty Dancing” in Toronto.