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Injured actress leaves 'Spider-Man' cast

Actresses Natalie Mendoza, left, and T.V. Carpio leave

Actresses Natalie Mendoza, left, and T.V. Carpio leave the theater after the opening night preview of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" at the Foxwoods Theater in New York City. (Nov. 28, 2010) Credit: Getty

Natalie Mendoza, who suffered an offstage concussion Nov. 28 during the first preview of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," has left the production, effective immediately, according to published reports.

Mendoza's representative, Shea Martin, did not return calls for comment on The New York Times report about Mendoza's departure, which cited anonymous sources close to the show. Talks with lawyers reportedly were held Tuesday, and a statement about the actress was expected Wednesday.

Mendoza, who played the sorceress/spiderwoman Arachne in the beleaguered $65-million mega-musical, was hit in the head with a backstage rope and was out two weeks before returning to the show Dec. 16. But she has not been back since Dec. 20, the night Spider-Man stunt double, aerialist Christopher Tierney, fell 30 feet off a platform. Tierney, the fourth actor hurt in the show, is recovering from multiple injuries, including broken vertebrae that required surgery last week.

When the show resumed Thursday, Mendoza, 30, was out on what a spokesman for the production reported as "vocal rest." Her character appears in six major numbers, sings the title song and has some moderate aerial work. She has been replaced since then by T.V. Carpio, an actress who appeared in "Across the Universe," a film by the show's director, Julie Taymor.

Carpio is listed in the program as an understudy for Peter Parker's girlfriend Mary Jane. America Olivo, Mendoza's understudy, played the role during her earlier absences. It was not known who will immediately replace Mendoza.

Mendoza wrote on her Facebook page Sunday that her concussion medication was down to two nausea tablets and four painkillers a day. She described herself as being "almost back to normal . . . almost anyway haha!"

The much-delayed musical, which has a score by U2's Bono and The Edge, is working out its problems in sold-out previews, with a performance Tuesday night, two Wednesday and one Thursday. The Foxwoods Theatre is dark Friday, New Year's Eve, but has three more performances on the last busy holiday weekend.

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