"Spider-Man" Musical To Go On Despite Accidents

It was supposed to swing into Broadway like its super-hero star: "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," a rock 'n' roll musical with a record-setting budget.

Preview audiences have been shocked by real-life drama on stage, including a serious accident Monday night.

CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports the horrifying accident - captured on video by an audience member - happened seven minutes before the show's end. Stuntman Christopher Tierney, playing Spider-Man, leaned over the edge of a platform and plunged about 30 feet.

"He falls into the pit and then you hear a bang and the audience gets very quiet and then you hear some crying from the lady who is playing Mary Jane, screaming crying," said audience member Charlie Bernard.

"Spider-Man" Actor Injured
"Spider-Man" Broadway Actor Falls 30 Feet

Jonathan De Alwis and his brother, Michael, also witnessed the fall and say they knew immediately something had gone wrong.

"Because most of the other times in the show they would fall really slowly, the harness would take them down really gently but this time he just fell real quick," said Jonathan De Alwis.

A cable attached to Tierney's harness apparently snapped. The producers immediately ended the show and Tierney was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he is in serious condition.

He reported suffered broken ribs and internal bleeding. Tierney is a 31-year-old veteran stage performer who's appeared in Broadway and national productions of "Movin' Out" and "Dirty Dancing."

In "Spider-Man," Tierney was the main aerial performer in a show featuring the music of U2's Bono and guitarist The Edge. The $65 million extravaganza has become famous for multiple aerialists hurtling around at up to 50 MPH.

"It was amazing, flying all over the place above the audience. They had in-air combat, it was really incredible stuff," said Jonathan De Alwis.

But it is also gaining notoriety for being dangerous. Since it began preview shows last month, the musical has seen three other accidents besides Tierney's.

On Tuesday officials with two safety agencies and the Actors' Equity Union met with the producers who said, "It was agreed additional safety protocols would be enacted immediately."

Also Tuesday the show's director, Julie Taymor, played a video message from Tierney to the cast in which he said he was alright and the show must go on.

Producers have postponed Wednesday's matinee show, but say Wednesday night's performance and those scheduled afterwards, will proceed.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.