I think Patti LuPone is fantastic! She’s one of my favorite actresses, but it goes beyond that. She’s also a rare and honest person who doesn’t sit down and take any guff from anybody, including rude and obnoxious members of theatrical audiences.
Miss LuPone is currently starring in SHOWS FOR DAYS at Lincoln Center Theater. She went ballistic at an audience member at GYPSY a few years ago for taking photographs. LuPone is not known for her tolerance of those pesky audience members who ruin the ambience of live theater by texting on their telephones, checking their status updates, or taking photographs of the performance – and nor should she have to be. Those who behave like that in the theater are nothing less than a flat-out pestilence to the rest of us!
I am often floored, when I go to a Broadway show, at how many telephones in the audience are lit before the curtain rises. Just floored. Once, from the vantage point of a balcony, I counted over fifty lit phones, pre-overture. When the announcement is made for people to turn those phones off and retain from taking pictures, since that’s a copyright violation and illegal, most do, but not all. At a show in the famous Palace Theater a few years ago, I sat in a box behind some people who were illegally, and brazenly, filming the entire first act. Texting goes on throughout, evidenced by annoying little patches of light glowing in the audience darkness.
Intermission at these theaters is an unbelievable sight to see. The lights go up, and the phones come out – all over the theater! The Ladies Room lines, which are usually over fifty women strong, are a study in willful isolation, where the majority of the gals await their moment on the porcelain thrones while texting, status updating, and making or answering “traditional” telephone calls.
Obviously there are times when a call or text must be made, but it always strikes me as very strange that so many of these people can not even, literally, go to the bathroom without whipping their phones out and sending little messages. What kind of “business” can be so pressing that the phones have to be activated during the too-few minutes between acts? Is it not even possible for these phone-atics to refrain from using the things long enough to go to the can?
So it is with great pride and pleasure that I share the news of Patti LuPone’s latest response to an annoying telephone nut: at her show the other night, Patti strode over to the offender in question, snatched the bloomin’ phone right out of her over-active hand, and walked away with it. Yes!
Hallelujah, and BRAVA, Patti! Well done! I’m so with you on this!
May this be the start of a trend. If every actor and actress in the professional theater would vow to stand up and do something about these pain-in-the-butt audience members it would make for a much more enjoyable experience for all those of us – and we’re legion – who go to these shows to see the performances and watch the stars who stand before us, onstage, in the glow of spotlights…not the phone lights.
The phone Patti so beautifully confiscated was returned to the offender at the end of the show, unfortunately. Patti didn’t steal it, she just got rid of it for awhile. Good! No doubt the Texting Wonder will be using it again, to disrupt some other performance soon, maybe even one at a theater near you.
Patti LuPone should get an award for her stance, and her fearlessness in taking action. Bravissimo! You go, girl!
On with the show!
Here’s some more on the subject from Broadwayworld.com and The New York Times: