Broadway legend grabs phone from texter, laments future

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jul 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 18:04:23-04

(CNN) — Attention, theater patrons: Please shut off your cell phones, or one of our performers will angrily take them away.

During a Wednesday night performance of “Shows for Days” at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center, Tony-winning actress Patti LuPone apparently had enough of one audience member who was more glued to the texts on her cell phone than to the show being put on in front of her by real, live actors.

While doing a scene, LuPone reached down and plucked the phone from the spectator’s hands.

LuPone was still steaming Thursday. In a statement, she wondered whether it was worth continuing to do live theater.

“We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones,” she said, reported. “They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else — the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage.

“I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore,” she added. “Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform.”

This isn’t the first time LuPone has gotten angry at an audience member. In 2009, she stopped a performance of “Gypsy” to yell at a photographer.

It’s the second time this month that a patron has gotten a little too attached to a phone. On July 2, an audience member tried to charge a phone at a production of “Hand to God.” The joke was on the patron: The sockets on the show’s sets aren’t operational.

According to Gothamist, the “Shows for Days” audience member’s phone was returned after the show.

LuPone has a long and award-winning history on Broadway, including Tonys for “Evita” and “Gypsy.”