Despite the very public problems facing Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," Reeve Carney -- the 27-year-old singer/actor who stars as the titular superhero -- says the cast is confident that the production will go off without a hitch when it officially opens on Feb. 7.
"It's been as hard for everybody in the show as it is for the audience who are eagerly anticipating, wanting to see this show," Carney tells Billboard.com. "But the cast is very close and we all really love each other, so it's good. Everyone's very positive, but we're definitely eager to get this thing open."
Director Julie Taymor ("Across the Universe," Broadway's "The Lion King") cast the singer, who fronts the Los Angeles-based band Carney, in the starring role of the musical after seeing the alt-rock band perform in 2008. Carney has spent the past few months rehearsing and practicing his flying stunts for 12-16 hours each day, while his bandmates -- guitarist Zane Carney, bassist Aiden Moore and drummer Jon Epcar -- joined the show's orchestra.
The $60 million Broadway musical, which features an original score by U2's Bono and the Edge, has been plagued by production delays and drawn criticism for jeopardizing the safety of its performers -- controversy that reached a fever-pitch when actor Chris Tierney fell an estimated 30 feet from an elevated platform during a Dec. 20 preview performance. But Carney insists he has "never felt unsafe" performing any of the show's flight stunts.
"All the accidents have been a result of human error, and so the machinery that we're working with is actually very safe," says Carney. "The way that Chris Tierney was injured was on something that wasn't really considered to be a stunt. It wasn't a really dangerous move in some ways. But now they have more people making sure that that thing is safe… it's actually looked at very, very closely by the crew. So I've always felt very safe because I've known that."
Tierney's fall, which left him hospitalized with broken ribs and internal bleeding, was one of the main reasons that supporting actress Natalie Mendoza left the show in late December, according to Reeve's brother Zane Carney. "When the fall happened with Chris, I was sitting onstage, and everything went black and I heard someone from the prop department saying, 'Stop moving, call 911,'" says Zane Carney. "I could't see who was injured, but what I could see was Natalie, who was playing Arachne, and she was just sobbing… That's the last thing I actually saw, I didn't see her after that. But I figured that moment, seeing Chris fall, impacted her in a really hard way." Mendoza, who played the villainess Arachne, wrote on Twitter, "A light in my heart went dim tonight," on the night of Tierney's fall, and she was replaced by actress T.V. Carpio.
"Honestly, it was a harrowing experience. It was Alfred Hitchcock-esque, at least from my perspective," Zane Carney continues. "But [Mendoza] is so beautiful and so talented, and I think everyone in the cast wishes her well, including Julie [Taymor]. And T.V. is killing it. She's really brought that character to life."
Once previews for "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" wrap and the musical debuts at Foxwoods Theater on Feb. 7, the Carney brothers and their bandmates plan to play a handful of Carney gigs, including a Feb. 14 show at the Mercury Lounge. Reeve and Zane Carney are confident that the long-delayed show will be problem-free once it opens, especially since Taymor as well as Bono and the Edge have remained so upbeat about the production.
"Bono and Edge took us out the other night, to a restaurant, the whole cast, actually," says Reeve Carney, whose band released its debut album "Mr. Green -- Vol. 1" last May. "They said that the show has exceeded their wildest expectations, which is really nice to hear. Obviously, we have a few areas where they feel like we need to perfect a few things, but other than that, in terms of the broad picture, they said it's even more than they could have imagined or hoped for."