Michaels’ Reps Steamed About Tony Mishap

While the blogosphere and the mainstream media (not to mention YouTube) have been getting lots of mileage out of Poison frontman Bret Michaels’ run-in with a piece of scenery during Sunday’s Tony Awards, the singer’s reps aren’t laughing.

As we reported earlier in the week, a spokesman for the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, or Tonys, said the accident occurred because the singer “missed his mark” and an official Twitter account for the awards asserted Michaels was “a-okay!” and only suffered “a minor scrape from the scenery” immediately following the incident.

For his part host Neil Patrick Harris worked the mishap into his routine with a joke about “head banging” and quipped that he and Michaels had been backstage “doing shots” afterward.

However BroadwayWorld.com has posted a lengthy statement from Janna Elias, a rep for Michaels Entertainment Group, that begs to differ and criticizes the folks at the Tonys and Harris for their flip reaction.

After a performance by [POISON and] singer Bret Michaels at the Tony Awards Sunday night, he turned to exit the stage and was struck in the head by a descending half-ton stage prop, sweeping him off his feet causing contusions to his face and knocking him to the ground. Even at that point of impact, the heavy prop was still not halted and continued to descend even though Michaels remained underneath it. Witnesses state the singer moved himself out of the way just moments before the prop touched down.

(I know there’s a “Wizard of Oz” joke in there somewhere.) Moving on, Elias continues:

With all due respect to everyone working the Tony Awards, somewhere down the line there was a lack of communication and the prop should have been immediately halted until Michaels was clear. Sunday morning at rehearsals, Bret was never informed that the descending set piece existed, let alone would be moving into position as he was exiting the stage.

Okay, that part is a little hard to swallow. When you consider the number of people involved in the opening number, not to mention the amount of scenery that was shifted around as each artist came onstage, is it really possible that Michaels was “never informed that the descending set piece existed”? You’re expecting us to believe the first time that piece of scenery was lowered was during a live telecast?

Or to put it another way, which is more likely:

A) The techs who work the Tony Awards – the same people who make sure the Wicked Witch of the West takes flight and Rafiki has a mountain top to climb with Simba every night – neglect to inform a performer that he needs to get out of the way after his number or risk being crushed by a “half-ton stage prop.”


B) The lead singer of an ’80s hair metal band, who’s known for attention seeking (“Rock of Love” anyone?), forgets where he is and decides to play to the crowd just a little longer.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to make light of Michaels’ injuries. I’m sure it hurt like hell when he turned around and got clocked in the head by a giant Broadway sign. And as you can see from this photo the singer posted on his MySpace page, the results weren’t pretty.

Bret Michaels takes to MySpace to show off the injuries he sustained during the June 7 Tony Awards ceremony at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall.

But blaming the whole incident on the staff of the show? Come on. And going after Harris for joking about it? From Bob Wallerstein, another Michaels rep:

We realize the show is live and must go on, however it is unfortunate that the show’s host mad light of the situation without having any knowledge of the severity of Bret’s injuries. Comments that Mr. Harris was doing shots backstage with Mr. Michaels and that Bret was completely fine were untrue considering Bret never saw Mr. Harris prior to, during or after the Tonys, but in fact was being attended to by medical personnel backstage.

Of course Harris’ comments were untrue: They were jokes. Gee, who would expect someone doing a comedy monologue to kid about a performer walking into a descending set piece?

Sounds like a case of bruised ego, especially after you read this part of Elias’ statement:

I feel had this incident happened to Liza Minneli, Dolly Parton or Elton John, the Tonys would have at least issued a letter of concern.

You’re darn right they would, because they’re Liza Minneli, Dolly Parton and Elton John.

Read the complete statement from Michaels’ reps here.