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Injured 'Spider-Man' actor rejoins Broadway show

An actor seriously injured at the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has returned to work only four months after he plummeted 35 feet from an onstage platform.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An actor seriously injured at the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" returned to work Monday, only four months after he plummeted 35 feet from an onstage platform.

"I feel amazing," said Christopher Tierney before reporting for rehearsals at the Foxwoods Theatre. He said the accident in December didn't give him second-thoughts about rejoining the stunt heavy show: "I'm ready to put on the harness right now and fly around."

Tierney, 31, suffered a fractured skull, a fractured shoulder blade, four broken ribs and three broken vertebrae on Dec. 20 when he tumbled in front of a shocked preview audience. Taken away from the theater in a stretcher, the actor had to wear a back brace and had eight screws put in his back.

The pins were removed three months early and Tierney said he had been itching to return but had to get doctors to sign off first. He said he was 85 percent to 90 percent fully fit.

"My back healed really well, thank God," he said to a gaggle of reporters outside the stage entrance to the theater.

Asked if he was nuts to return after being hurt so badly, Tierney responded with a laugh. "Yeah, slightly," he said. Wearing jeans, sneakers, a hat and a gray jacket, the actor added, "I come back because I love it. I love being on stage. I love my cast."

Tierney returns to a different show than the one he left in December. While the actor healed, the $65 million musical — the most expensive in Broadway history — parted ways with director and co-book writer Julie Taymor, and choreographer Daniel Ezralow, among others. U2's Bono and The Edge remain as songwriters, though the show's music is also being changed.

Tierney, of Portsmouth, N.H., said he had recently spoken to Taymor and called her a "loyal friend." He said she had reached out to him after hearing he was returning to the show and wanted to make sure he was feeling up to it.

The show is currently on hiatus until previews begin again on May 12.

The new creative team — including director Philip William McKinley and playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, musical consultant Paul Bogaev and sound designer Peter Hylenski — has announced a new opening day of June 14. Taymor is still billed as director and remains a part of the production.

Tierney's accident — which was blamed on an unconnected safety tether — was one of five accidents to cast members that marred the production. A lead actress, Natalie Mendoza, suffered a concussion during the first preview performance and left the show.

"Spider-Man" represents Tierney's Broadway debut. Besides executing the main Spider-Man aerial stunts, he also plays 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.