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OTRC: Natalie Mendoza leaves 'Spider-Man' Broadway musical after injury

Reeve Carney and the Ensemble rehearsing for the new 'Spider-Man' musical in 2010. (Jacob Cohl / facebook.com/TurnOffTheDark)

Natalie Mendoza has left the musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" after suffering a concussion last month during its first preview performance, which marked one of several accidents that has plagued the production, the most expensive in Broadway history.

Reports had surfaced in recent days that said the 30-year-old actress, who played the villainess Arachne, would quit the show. She suffered her concussion after being struck in the head by a rope holding a piece of equipment.

Producers of the $65 million show broke the news of her departure to the cast before the 8 p.m. performance on Thursday evening, the Associated Press reported, quoting Mendoza as saying in a statement: "It has been a difficult decision to make, but I regret that I am unable to continue on 'Spider-Man' as I recover from my injury."

A series of accidents has spurred an investigation of the show's safety protocols and its official opening date was moved from January to Febrary 2011. In late November, a harness malfunction left lead actor Reeve Carney stuck dangling in the air. Two other actors were injured during other performances.

One of them, Christopher Tierney, suffered a skull fracture and cracked vertebrae after falling 30 feet while performing a stunt. He was recently released from a hospital's intensive care unit and has begun inpatient rehabilitation, the Associated Press reported.

"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," director Julie Taymor said in a statement on the musical's Facebook page on December 22.

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