Pascal: Stop 'Spider-Man' until safety addressed

Broadway actor Adam Pascal, who tweeted that the director of the accident-plagued musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" should be charged with assault, said Wednesday that he was just joking about that but that the show shouldn't continue until safety issues are addressed.

The Tony Award-nominated Pascal can relate to the dangers actors face on stage. He was performing in "Aida" in Chicago in 1999 when he and co-star Heather Headley fell 15 feet after a lift gave out, and he suffered torn ligaments and bruises.

Four accidents have plagued "Spider-Man" since it began previews last month. On Monday a stuntman plunged about 30 feet into a stage pit; he suffered broken ribs and internal injuries and was having back surgery.

Pascal tweeted that "Spider-Man" creator Julie Taymor "should be charged with assault" after that accident. In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, though, he backed off that comment.

"I want to clarify that I'm not calling for the arrest of anybody," Pascal said. "But I don't know how many people have to be hurt before it gets shut down."

Pascal said after his fall in "Aida," the gag that injured him was cut and he "never felt unsafe again because it wasn't happening anymore." He said he feels his rant against the safety record of "Spider-Man" echoed the views of the public and some members of the Broadway community.

"I think people are annoyed that Julie would put the show into previews and perform for audiences and have people pay full ticket price for a show that's nowhere near finished," he said. "I don't want to sit there and see the show stopped five times, and I don't want to see people taken away in ambulances."

The $65 million musical was conceived by the Tony Award-winning Taymor and U2's Bono and The Edge, who wrote the music. The show has been in the making for more than eight years, but delays and money woes have plagued its launch.

Pascal said he feels the problems with safety are due in part to Taymor rushing her lavish vision to the stage combined with a team of producers who are mainly concert promoters and aren't familiar with Broadway shows.

Taymor said the well-being of people involved in "Spider-Man" was important.

"Nothing is more important than the safety of our Spider-Man family, and we'll continue to do everything in our power to protect the cast and crew," she said in a statement.

After an inspection on Wednesday, producers canceled the second straight performance. The show was to resume Thursday night after addressing the necessary safety concerns.