Concussion Sidelines ‘Spider-Man’ Actress After Another Stage Mishap

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

A third cast member in the beleaguered Broadway musical ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ has been injured on the job. In recent weeks, a dancer broke his wrists attempting a flying stunt in rehearsal, and a different actor sustained injuries to his feet trying the same stunt.

Now, a spokesman for Natalie Mendoza, who plays villainess Arachne, has announced that the actress suffered a concussion during the production’s first preview on Sunday, which was a Broadway audience’s first look at director Julie Taymor’s highly anticipated theatrics (with a score by U2’s Bono and The Edge) in action. Mendoza did not immediately report the injury to producers or the actors’ union, and she participated in the next performance against doctors’ orders.

The incident reportedly occurred offstage when the actress was struck by a rope that was holding a piece of equipment, according to the New York Times. An understudy will step in until Mendoza, 30, returns to her role next week.

The New York State Dept. of Labor confirmed on Friday that it was investigating the accident, and a rep for the agency said: “The production has explained to us the details of the accident. They also indicated that they have made changes to prevent this type of accident from happening again. We plan to follow up regularly to ensure that these modifications are adequate.” No further details about “modifications” were released.

Taymor has yet to comment publicly about Mendoza’s injury.

The chain of events is now alleged to be: Mendoza — a slim 5’6″ — was injured during the Sunday performance, saw a doctor sometime afterward (Monday was a day off for the cast members), then posted a one-word tweet on Tuesday morning that said “Concussion,” and decided to take the stage on Tuesday night. But a spokesperson for the musical, Rick Miramontez, insists “It was her choice, she insisted on doing it.”

By mid-week, the actress had allegedly informed the production of her concussion diagnosis, then fell ill by Thursday, and her understudy has played the role since.

The technically challenging ‘Spider-Man’ has cost $65 million, twice as much as any Broadway show in history. The musical is officially scheduled to open for critics next month, with preview performances set to continue until opening night.

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