Much like it’s common courtesy to not use your phone in a movie theater, it’s also common courtesy to not use your phone during a play. Unfortunately for one audience member, she found out about that rule the hard way when legendary Broadway star Patti LuPone took notice, The New York Times reports.
LuPone, who made her Broadway debut in 1973’s Three Sisters and has since won six Tony Awards for various roles throughout her career, performs in Shows for Days, a Broadway comedy that takes place in 1973. Close to intermission, however, LuPone noticed someone was texting during her performance. By the time the second act began, the audience member still had her iPhone out.
“She showed her husband she was texting. We talked about it during intermission,” the 66-year-old actress and singer said. “When we went out for the second act, I was very close to her, and she was still texting. I watched her and thought, ‘What am I going to do?'”
LuPone decided to reach down and snatch the phone from the audience member’s hands, with the house manager returning the phone after the end of the show. Funny enough, she did this without breaking character or disrupting “the momentum of the play,” said Michael Urie, LuPone’s co-star.
It’s proof of her ability as a Broadway actress that she didn’t break character during the incident, since ringtones and a haywire interrupted the show since that day’s matinee, according to a message board on Broadway World. However, based on the reactions of several Twitter users, LuPone made the right decision:
I saw Patti LuPone deliver her scene exit line tonight at Lincoln Center & SNATCH A CELL PHONE OUT OF AN AUDIENCE MEMBER’S HAND. #theatre
— CatsPolitics (@CatsPolitics) July 9, 2015
@CatsPolitics I say she gets a Special Tony Award for that one. Nice.
— ORCA7 (@Orca7Tweet) July 9, 2015
@CatsPolitics If I had witnessed it, I would have offered her my help in an instant! This self-absorbed nonsense has got to finally stop!
— Richard C. IRITANO (@RichardCIRITANO) July 9, 2015
@CatsPolitics Phones & cameras have been off limits for decades at NY shows on Broadway, & Lincoln Center, Miss Lupone was right.
— Katherine Miller (@KateMiller685) July 10, 2015
Unfortunately for Broadway showgoers, however, this situation caused LuPone to think about retiring. “I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore,” said LuPone.
This isn’t LuPone’s first run-in with rude audience members, however. The day before the closing performance of Gypsy in 2009, LuPone stopped the performance to kick photographers out of the theater. More recently, during a show at New York City’s 54 Below, she told an audience member to “shut up” after she was asked to quiet down several times throughout the performance in April.