When house lights go down on the Great White Way, it means the bright white lights from our phones should as well.

Patti LuPone, in her most recent tirade last Wednesday, stopped her performance during the off-Broadway Shows for Days to snatch a texting theatergoer's phone out of her hands.

This isn't the first time LuPone has outwardly displayed her animosity toward using phones in the theater.

There's an infamous recording of the Broadway legend stopping her song mid-tune and yelling at an audience member who was taking pictures during the show Gypsy. Classic hits include her yelling out "Who do you think you are?" and "We have forgotten our public manners," amid applause from the audience.

Critics have called her moves unprofessional, as the interruption takes away from the heightened realism of the show.

However, the underlying issue is still valid. Theatergoers shell out big bucks to see professional theater shows, and even the more-attainable movie theaters aren't just a cheap pastime anymore.

So it's baffling to me how someone could go so far to appreciate the arts and end up just watching his or her Facebook feeds instead.

"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," LuPone said in a statement to Playbill. "I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore."

The act is incredibly selfish and rude. It's conveying that performers' hard work isn't enough to keep your attention, and their performance is boring you.

In that case, it's not even worth the time or money to attend, when others would be more than happy to take your spot.

As someone who has performed onstage before, I can attest that audience members are still very much visible to the actors who are giving it their all, especially if they've got their own spotlight coming from their laps.

Not only is it disrespectful to the actors, it's also distracting to other theatergoers. Every time I head into a movie theater these days, someone near me will pull out his or her phone, with max brightness blazing, and start surfing the Web, totally oblivious to the distraction it causes. Maybe I'm just terrible at concentration, but when a light turns on 2 feet away from me in a dark room, it's hard to focus on anything else.

My phone is always active as well, with dozens of emails, texts and group messages shooting down my lock screen like Tetris. But replying back can wait until intermission or the end of the show. If it can't, I can promise you that exiting the theater is way less distracting.

Although LuPone's blowup was dramatic, I applaud her for her actions.

We should be able to soak in as many experiences as we can and respect performances on or off screen, without having to retreat back to the one at our fingertips.


Noelle Campbell is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @Noellecampz or email her at

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