Broadway Show Sunset Boulevard Stopped By Photo Taking Patron

There is something special about Broadway. Broadway is not just a street in New York City. It is a cultural experience. Broadway is the word used to describe the world of live acting. It is the haven for incredible stories and amazing actors. For years, Broadway has entertained, surprised, and emotionally charged audiences from all over the world. The theaters that make up the world of Broadway are sacred places where people worship good acting and great writing. Once people enter a theater to see a play, they find themselves in an energy-charged area where lights, cameras, talking, and texting are forbidden.



But not every theatergoer complies with the unwritten and written laws of the theater. Some people still try to take a picture or use their phone during a play. Glenn Close, the Tony Award-winning actress, and the lead actor in the play Sunset Boulevard knows first-hand how disruptive patrons can be. In 1994, during the previews of that same play, Close had to stop in the middle of a performance at the Minskoff Theater. She descended the elaborate stairs in the opening act and was met with a wave of flashbulbs. Close told the audience “We can either have a press conference or continue with the show.” The audience gave her a lengthy ovation, and she got back into character.



Twenty-three years later on May 24, 2017, Glenn Close had to do the same thing at the revival of Sunset Boulevard at the Palace Theatre. Close stopped performing her first song after a patron started taking photos. Once again, the three-time Tony winner politely asked the photo-taker to stop taking photos. Close told the patron it was disrespectful and annoying. She almost repeated what she said in 1994 when she looked at the audience and quietly said: “We can have a show or we can have a photo shoot.” Close got back into character and started singing the Lloyd Webber ballad from the beginning, and she gave a stunning performance.



Theater rules are there for a reason. Performing in front of a live audience is living art, and that art form should be respected. Most theater patrons visit Broadway because it is one of the few places in the world where artistic excellence and incredible performances happen nightly even though some people can’t follow the rules.

Glenn Close Stops Broadway Show After Fan Takes Photos

Glenn Close gave a show-stopping performance—literally—at a showing of Sunset Boulevard this week at the Palace Theatre. Close, who is currently starring as faded film star Norma Desmond in the Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, startled audiences when she chastised a fan for taking photos during her performance. Close had been in the middle of her first song “With One Look” when she spotted a fan taking illegal photographs of her solo. She suddenly halted the production, breaking character to tell the audience: “I’m sorry. Stop the show. Someone there is taking photos. You must know how distracting and disrespectful that is.” Close informed the fan that they could “have a show or have a photo shoot,” but not both at once. She then restarted the ballad from the beginning, this time without any distractions.


This is not the first time that Close has halted a performance of Sunset Boulevard. As noted by Playbill, she was also interrupted during the original 1994 Tony Award-winning production of the same musical. Close was descending the show’s iconic staircase when she noticed an audience member taking flash photography. Using language surprisingly similar to this week’s disruption, Close told the fan: “We can either have a press conference or continue with the show.” Audience members responded by giving Close a standing ovation, after which Close resumed the show.


While Close may have stopped the same musical twice, there is one actress who remains the most famous show-stopper on Broadway. That title belongs to famous Broadway diva Patti Lupone. During a 2015 production of Shows for Days at Lincoln Center, Lupone was so incensed by an audience member’s texting that she snatched their phone as she exited the stage. Calling the audience member “rude” and “self-absorbed,” Lupone was dismayed enough by the experience that she claimed to be questioning her entire stage career. Luckily she was able to overcome the experience and return to Broadway for War Paint, currently running at the Nederlander Theatre.