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.