Lancman demands Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ be safer

Lancman demands Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ be safer
Assemblyman Rory Lancman (c.) urges the producers of the show “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” to respond to his concerns about the safety of the Broadway production as his colleagues look on. Photo courtesy Rory Lancman’s office. Photo courtesy Rory Lancman
By Howard Koplowitz

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) called on the producer of the accident-plagued “Spider-Man” musical to make the production safer before it goes on with any more shows.

“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” is going through previews on Broadway. During one of the previews, an audience watched in horror last week as a stuntman fell three stories while attempting a jump. He suffered serious injuries.

“Several actors have been injured during the show’s short preview season, and the danger to actors, theater employees and audience members seems to have reached unacceptable levels,” Lancman, wrote to “Spider-Man” producer Michael Cohl.

Lancman is chairman of the Assembly’s Subcommittee on Workplace Safety and said it is contemplating holding hearings on the production and urged the musical not to hold any further performances until it satisfies certain conditions.

The Fresh Meadows assemblyman said the “Spider-Man” musical should be in full compliance with state Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state Labor Department recommendations that call for an independent expert evaulate flying and safety line sequences in the production.

Lancman also said he wanted sufficient rehearsals for understudies performing aerial or tethered sequences and that the crew and stage management could run the show safely.

He said the final sequence of the production, known as “The Net,”should either be changed or removed from the musical.

“We think of theaters as a place for entertainment and fun, but for the actors, musicians, stagehands and other theater employees who make the shows happen, theaters are a work place, and every New Yorker is entitled to a safe work place,” said Lancman, who held a news conference last Thursday outside the Foxwood Theater, where the “Spider-Man” musical puts on its production. “Work place safety cannot be achieved by trial and error and the producers of “Spider-Man” need to make this work place safe before the show can be allowed to go on.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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