Flying Tricks Go Wrong During 'Spider-Man' on Broadway Preview

6:33 AM PST 11/29/2010 by Lindsay Powers
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The show was halted five times as actors dangled in midair, while one disgruntled audience member catcalled, "I feel like a guinea pig!"

Spider-Man finally began previews on Broadway Sunday night, but not without issues.

The most expensive stage production of all time (at $65 million, it's twice as much as the runner-up, Shrek the Musical), ran over three-and-a-half hours, according to published reports, and stopped at least five times times as actors dangled from cables with flying tricks gone wrong.

In the beginning, actress Natalie Mendoza, who plays the radioactive spider that gives Peter Parker his powers, was suspended over the audience for about seven minutes after finishing her number, "Rise Above."

Joked stage manager C. Randall White over the loudspeaker, according to the New York Post, "Give it up for Natalie Mendoza, who's hanging in the air!"

Act 1 ended early (after facing four pauses) with Spider-Man (played by Reeve Carney) dangling 10 feet over the audience. Crew members spent about 45 seconds grabbing Spider-Man, as the stage manager stopped the show and implied he wanted to retry the stunt. Instead, intermission was called.

About 45 minutes later, the show began again. Less than an hour into the second act,  White halted the show again. One woman catcalled, "I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today -- I feel like it’s a dress rehearsal." She was met with boos, even though most of the approximately 1,900 audience members had spent $140 per ticket.

The show ended at 10:09 p.m. -- more than three hours after it started.

Despite expecting several technical glitches, producer Michael Cohl said before the show, "I’m hellishly excited, and I can’t believe we’re actually here and it’s actually going to happen."

The show was delayed two weeks as New York State officials completed safety inspections of its daredevil stunts, which left one actor with two broken wrists during rehearsals.

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