“Spider-Man” may have suffered from a rash of physical injuries and technical mishaps, but there are numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows that have been successfully “defying gravity” for years.
amNewYork looks at some productions that have impressed audiences with complicated flying sequences and aerial acrobatics — without giving off the vibe that injury is imminent.
This 60-minute spectacle is filled with nothing but stunning aerial effects. The most technically involved bit features a 45-foot-wide plastic swimming pool that descends from the roof. Throughout the show, talented aerialists perform elaborate flips and dance moves and, oh yeah, there’s also a guy in a business suit running on a treadmill above the audience’s heads.
In the song “Extraordinary Girl,” Stark Sands, who plays Tunny, suddenly glides into the air with a mysterious woman in a burqa, played by Christina Sajous, in a sort of aerial ballet dream sequence.
When the show begins, good witch Glinda descends from above in a bubble to greet the ensemble. In the sensational Act 1 finale “Defying Gravity,” green-skinned witch Elphaba takes flight on her broomstick as a hidden forklift carries the actress up to the top of the stage.
In the show-stopping “Step in Time,” chimney sweep Bert, supported by wires, literally walks on the set all the way to the ceiling, where he acrobatically proceeds to tap dance upside down. At the end, for Mary’s final exit, she doesn’t just fly to the top of the set: With her trademark umbrella in hand, she literally levitates into the audience, over the mezzanine and balcony, and finally disappears into the rafters.
‘The Phantom of the Opera’
What would “Phantom” be without that crashing crystal chandelier? As the show starts and the flashback begins, the one-ton, 10-foot-tall chandelier, attached to cables, slowly rises from the stage and returns to its former glory on the ceiling. By the end of Act 1, with the Phantom feeling betrayed, it plummets down to the stage again.
‘The Addams Family’
In Act 2, Uncle Fester, played by Kevin Chamberlain, randomly declares that he has romantic feelings for the moon. Against a blacked-out set, he flies up into the night and starts getting physical with his mistress. Hey, whatever floats your boat.