6 Horrifying Theatergoers as Described by Rumer Willis and More Broadway Stars
By Stacy Lambe
Broadway once was a refined experience, with theatergoers
dressing up to see stars take the stage for show-stopping performances. Lately,
it seems that anything goes -- though, we’re fully OK with the casual nature of
clothing -- as audience members are willing to eat, text, and even offer
marriage proposals during performances.
Everyone from Rumer Willis to Jonathan Groff has recounted
horrible examples of theatergoers behaving badly that are becoming all too common:
While snacks are available at a number of theaters, dinners
are not. But that hasn’t stopped people from chowing down -- even on McDonald’s.
“I saw somebody eating a full meal in the front row the other day,” Willis, who
is playing Roxie Hart in Chicago, revealed to New York Magazine in a
joint interview with her father, Bruce.
During a December performance of Cinderella, which ran from 2013 to 2014, Joe Carroll (Prince
Topher) noticed that people had picked up McDonald’s during intermission. “To
the people eating MCDONALDS FRIES/ NUGGETS IN THE FRONT ROW RIGHT NOW… Enjoy
act 2!! Or just LEAVE. I CANT MAKE THIS UP,” he tweeted.
The fact that they went out at intermission to get McD's and came back for act 2 is astounding, infuriating, and bizarrely inspiring
Phones have long been a problem at every show, with a cell undoubtedly
ringing at least once a performance. However, things have gotten worse as some audience
members have been caught texting. Most notably, Patti LuPone let one woman have it when the 66-year-old Broadway legend spied her typing
away during a performance of Shows for Days.
"We could see her text. She was so uninterested. She
showed her husband what she was texting," LuPone explained to The New York Times after it was reported
that she swiped the unsuspecting audience member’s phone. "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?' At the very end of that
scene, we all exit. What I normally do is shake the hand of the people in the
front row. I just walked over to her, shook her hand and took her phone. I
walked offstage and handed it to the stage manager, who gave it to the house
In a bizarre, phone-related incident that seems to top all
phone incidents, one person climbed onto the stage of Hand of God before the
show started to charge his phone. Believing that the outlet onset was real, he
attempted to add juice to his iPhone battery. “It’s not the easiest thing to go
climb on stage. It takes a concerted effort—and I do it all the time,” Beowulf
Boritt, the show’s Tony-winning set designer, toldVanity Fair. “It’s certainly the first time anyone has gone onto
one of my sets and tried to use it as a real space.”
The college student responsible for the incident later
apologized during a press conference outside Boothe Theatre, where the show is
playing. “I don’t go to plays very much, and I didn’t realize that the stage is
considered off limits,” he said.
Also allegedly guilty of using her phone during a show is Madonna, who
was recently called out by Hamilton
star Groff. “That b***h was on her phone,” Groff told dot429. “You couldn't
miss it from the stage. It was a black void of the audience in front of us and
her face there perfectly lit by the light of her iPhone through three-quarters
of the show.”
A year prior, Shia LaBeouf was escorted out of a June performance
of Cabaret starring Michelle Williams
and Alan Cumming. “I think he was really messed up, obviously … he was just
wasted, and he was wasted from the second he walked into the thing,” The Good
Wife actor told Conan O’Brien following the incident, which also included LaBeouf slapping Cumming’s butt.
The actor was charged with criminal trespassing and
Keira Knightley’s Broadway debut was interrupted when a man started
shouting as soon as the actress took the stage at Studio 54 during the opening
preview performance of Therese Raquin. “I love you” was one of the things he reportedly
screamed out, even asking Knightley to marry him. He was eventually escorted out
and placed under evaluation.
While Knightley has
yet to comment on the incident, Roundabout Theatre told ET that it has beefed up
security. "Roundabout takes the safety of their actors and audiences very
seriously and extra security will be added,” the theater said.
Going back a few
years, when Paul Rudd was in Grace with Ed Asner and Michael Shannon, an
elderly man became sick during an evening performance and hurled over the
balcony. The falling vomit understandably disrupted the show as the audience
below tried to clean themselves up.
Rudd kept his sense
of humor, telling the audience at the end that “as an actor, being able to move
people to tears or to laughter is amazing -- but moving them to puking is a
whole different league.” The actor later joked with Matt Lauer on Today
that he’s typically “loaded” onstage.
Watch as Willis describes how she found her confidence after being cyberbullied while sitting down with ET.