- Associated Press - Thursday, January 6, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - The actor badly hurt at the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” plans to go back to the show this week _ as a spectator.

Christopher Tierney, who was discharged Wednesday from The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, hopes to attend Friday’s performance, according to show spokesman Rick Miramontez. Tierney’s appearance would come 18 days after he fell 35 feet in front of a shocked preview audience when his safety harness failed.

The 31-year-old suffered a fractured skull, a fractured shoulder blade, four broken ribs and three broken vertebrae during his Dec. 20 tumble. In an interview Monday, he said he hopes to return to performing in “Spider-Man” when he feels strong enough.

“Each day there’s progress. I’m up and walking around with very little pain,” he told The Associated Press. “It’s good that it happened to me. I’m kind of a horse like that _ I like to get back up after being knocked down. It’s a new challenge, character-building kind of thing.”

The $65 million show officially opens Feb. 7 and has been plagued by technical glitches, cancellations, money woes and injuries to three other actors. Last month, a lead actress bowed out.

Tierney has blamed his injuries on a freak accident and doesn’t accuse the producers or the creative team of carelessness. The team is led by Tony Award-winning director and book co-writer Julie Taymor of “Lion King” fame.

“Spider-Man” was Tierney’s Broadway debut. 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.

He had already worked with both Taymor and “Spider-Man” choreographer Daniel Ezralow in the film “Across the Universe” and was this time cast in a number of roles in addition to the main Spider-Man aerial stunts. He also played the part of a super villain, a bully who torments Peter Parker and a dancer.

The fall that left him in a back brace and with eight screws in his back happened only seven minutes before the end of the performance. Dressed as Spider-Man, Tierney, who that night had already swung multiple times at 40 mph and wrestled with the Green Goblin over the audience, simply jumped from a ledge as the show was wrapping up. But this time he wasn’t connected to anything.

In the interview, Tierney said he wanted to go back to the show and see his friends when he was released from the rehab facility. And he was concentrating on seeing the good in his accident.

“I got a lot of outpouring from loved ones, family and friends, and complete strangers alike,” he said. “All of it was intensely positive and immensely beautiful. I haven’t had to fight a single negative thought because of it. It’s been great. I’ve been in a very positive, happy place.”




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