Spider-Man Musical: Will The Show Go On?

It looks like the hits just keep on coming for the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Accidents, injuries, faulty set pieces and some very nasty reviews of preview performances seem to be the highlight of this musical, and as if things couldn’t get any worse; one of the show’s key characters is now leaving after an on-set accident.

On the heels of last week’s accident that seriously injured stunt performer Christopher Tierney, star Natalie Mendoza, who plays the spider villainess Arachne, has decided to leave the $65 million (and counting) production.

The 30-year-old actress’s camp is negotiating an exit deal with producers. Mendoza sustained a concussion on Nov. 28 when she was struck in the head by a rope holding a piece of equipment as she stood off stage.

Arachne is a key character in the show and, aside from singing the tuner’s title number, figured prominently in at least five other songs and several high-flying stunt sequences, including one in which she’s spun upside down. During her absence, the role was filled by understudy America Olivo.

Mendoza, who starred in the 2005 horror flick The Descent and was making her Broadway debut in Spider-Man, had just resumed playing Arachne when Tierney fell out of a harness and plummeted 30 feet, suffering several broken ribs and internal bleeding.

The Dec. 20 mishap left Mendoza feeling shaken and she has sat out all subsequent performances.

It’s not known whether producers will stick with Olivo or try to bring in another actress for the role. The show’s opening was just pushed back by another month, in part due to Mendoza’s injury, and is now due to premiere on Feb. 7.

Neither a spokesman for Spider-Man nor Mendoza’s rep is commenting on her departure.

Another delay could be disastrous for the troubled production, which launched with high hopes and a star pedigree including director Julie Taymor and U2’s Bono and the Edge, who wrote the music.

With all the trouble brewing in Spidey-land, fans can’t help to ask: will the show go on? And if so, for how long?


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