How To Succeed Stagehand Dies Backstage, Ending Performance

Any news story about a fatality on the Great White Way should instantly bring to mind everyone's favorite web slinger, but while Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has maimed many, it has yet to actually kill anyone. (And let's hope it stays that way.) But it's another musical — the far less death-defying revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying — that had to contend with the sad loss of a crew member on Wednesday night, just minutes before the curtain went up on its 100th performance.

The Times has learned that one of the crew, a 29-year-old man, was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest in a theater bathroom. He was pronounced dead on arrival when he got to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital. A drug overdose is suspected.

All of this transpired with the audience still in their seats, waiting for some high-kicking Harry Potter magic. After several delay announcements, stars Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette appeared on stage and addressed the crowd.

Audience members said they could tell by Mr. Radcliffe's and Mr. Larroquette's tone that something grave had happened.

"They said they debated it for a long time, and that there was a tragedy and they didn't feel comfortable performing," said one audience member.

Broadway and drugs. Who knew?

[NY Times, photo via AP]