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.