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Spider-Man stunt man back as theatergoer

Christopher Tierney, the stunt man who fell from

Christopher Tierney, the stunt man who fell from a platform during the Broadway show "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" at the Foxwoods Theatre on Dec. 20, 2010. Credit:

Spider-Man stunt man Christopher Tierney made a much ballyhooed return to "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" on Friday evening - as an audience member. It was his first time back at the troubled Broadway musical since suffering a serious fall on Dec. 20.

"I'll be back in the show soon," Tierney, 31, said outside the Foxwoods Theatre shortly before curtain as a horde of press converged on the Portsmouth, N.H., dancer.

Tierney suffered four broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade, three cracked vertebrae, a hairline skull fracture, a bruised lung and other injuries after falling more than 20 feet due to an improperly attached safety harness.

"The last thing I thought was, 'Oh my God, something went wrong,' " he said. "When I came to, I saw everyone around me." He felt relieved after finding he could move his hands and wiggle his toes.

"I believe in this show," he pledged. "I love my crew." Comparing the production to a family, he said, "There's no staying mad at anybody."

Tierney was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center on Dec. 28 and released from the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine on Wednesday. He wore a torso brace as he spoke, saying he wears it only when walking outdoors.

Tierney said he expects to rejoin the show in a different capacity, and hopes to perform Spider-Man stunts once again.

Tierney is one of four performers to have been injured performing director Julie Taymor's $65-million show, by far the most expensive in Broadway history.

Natalie Mendoza, who played the villainous Arachne, departed the musical late last month after suffering a concussion on Nov. 28.

Previously, stunt man Kevin Aubin broke both wrists, followed by another stunt performer breaking a toe.

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