Natalie Mendoza Departs SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK

Even though it has not happened officially, I am going to bet that Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark will not be around for much longer. 

One of the most expensive stage production has also been plagued with disasters. As was reported earlier this month, there have been problems with the show since the beginning. Before performances began one of the dancers broke his wrists during a flying stunt, another actor injured his feet doing the same stunt. 

Unfortunately the shows drama did not end there. recently Christopher Tierney plummeted over 20 feet after his safety harness malfunctioned. Tierney is currently recovering at Bellevue Hospital Center from his injuries that included a hairline fracture in his skull, a broken scapula, a broken bone close to his elbow, four broken ribs, a bruised lung and three fractured vertebrae.

Natalie Mendoza has just announced that she will be leaving the show. Mendoza received a concussion during the musical’s first performance when she was struck in the head by a rope holding a piece of equipment. The actress did not appear in the next performance after the accident, on Thursday night, nor in any of the shows over the Christmas weekend. An official statement of Natalie Mendoza’s departure is expected as early as Tuesday, according to secret sources that spoke to the New York Times. These sources requested anonymity because the producers have forbidden public comments given that lawyers and others are still fine-tuning the language to explain Ms. Mendoza’s departure, which is a major loss for the production. She is said to be shaken up after Tierney’s recent serious accident and has been on bed rest per her doctors orders according to a fellow actor in the musical.

Here is what she posted on her Facebook page Sunday:

“Thank goodness I had such a brilliant neurologist who made sure I recovered properly,” she wrote. “Nice to be almost back to normal … almost anyway haha! Thanking God for peace, real friends, love and health and healing.”

Here is what she posted on her Twitter last Tuesday after Tierney’s accident:

“Please pray with me for my friend Chris, my superhero who quietly inspires me every day with his spirit. A light in my heart went dim tonight.”

Mendoza is best known for her role in The Descent. Her character is a pivotal character in the show named Arachne. The spider villainess is the main reason that Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man. Arachne was created by Julie Taymor, the show’s director. It is reported that Taymor conceived the character several years ago after having a dream about the transformation of a normal teenage boy into a powerful superhuman. 

Arachne involves several flying sequences, including one in which she is spun upside down, Arachne is also big part of the second act and delivers the title number and sings on five other songs, including the songs “Rise Above,” and the finale, “Love Me or Kill Me.”  Ms. Mendoza’s understudy, America Olivo is expected to take on the role of Arachne and T. V. Carpio may become an alternate.

The shows opening was delayed by four weeks, until Monday, Feb. 7, to provide more time to make changes in the $65 million show before theater critics review it. If a show receives bad reviews from critics they will never be able to recoup the costs. To me it seems like the shows producers are going a little too far by putting the lives of actors at risk.

What are your thoughts?
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Jim Napier

Jim Napier

Lover of movies and The Big Lebowski.