UPDATED: Rebecca Luker quiets rude Audience member with the Sound of her Voice
Once Upon a Time…
Last Saturday night, I returned to the enchanted Broadway Theatre to check out their latest cast member at Cinderella
. Three-time Tony Award Nominee Rebecca Luker (a temporary replacement for Victoria Clark, who is currently starring in a new play with Luker’s husband Danny Burstein
) assumes the role of the Fairy Godmother, through January 19. Luker, who considers her hubby “the talent in the family,” is known for roles in Broadway’s The Secret Garden
, Show Boat
, The Music Man
. I’m happy to report that Ms. Luker is glorious as Marie—Playing the role with heart and humor, she makes the impossible seem possible with her soaring Soprano voice. As the character says in the pivotal “transition” scene: “I am everyone’s Fairy Godmother,” and we couldn’t wish for a better one. But even the Fairy Godmother’s magic runs out at the stroke of midnight.
It wasn’t quite midnight, it was only 8:40, when my patience had all but run out. Now, I have attended Broadway shows for nearly two decades but this experience tops the list.
Directly in front of me sat a little girl (probably three), her dad and his girlfriend. This man, clearly intoxicated, felt the need to narrate the entire show, full-voice to his little girl. A sort of “drunk narrator” that clearly had no idea how the story of Cinderella went. When “Impossible” began, and the talking (and texting) continued, I finally lost it and shushed him. To which he turned around and said (again, in full-voice), “Did you just shush me?! Who do you think you are to shush me?! While don’t you ‘Shh!’ ‘Shh!’ ‘Shh!’” At this point, Cinderella’s evil Stepmother seemed like a better parent than this guy. At intermission, I went to complain to an usher and he took care of it. Or so I thought.
During the break, I saw the man and his young daughter get ushered upstairs. When he was asked how many seats he needed, the man replied, “It was three but I swear to god, my girlfriend just left me.” I suddenly had a feeling of Schadenfreude.
It was about two minutes into the second Act that I heard a familiar-disturbing voice, and I spotted the man and his daughter sitting in box seats house left—this time with his feet up on the rail. The talking continued.
At this point, I’m feeling a little guilty. Now, he’s not only disturbing people in the orchestra, but the entire audience and cast.
It wasn’t until Rebecca Luker’s retention of “There’s Music in You” that the man was silent. I believe it was Ms. Luker’s beautiful performance that made him quiet. After all, live theatre can be very powerful. However, the silence was only temporary and the rudeness began again.
Soon, an older gentleman went to the edge of the mezzanine and began to give him a piece of his mind. This only aggravated him. He started yelling, “Stop clapping” into the orchestra, and he got his innocent child to do the same. Shortly after, an usher entered his box and I heard him say, “You can either leave now or I’ll have a policeman escort you out!” By that time, Cinderella (Spoiler alert!) was about to marry the Prince.
Behavior like this is uncalled for, in the theatre. Nowadays, there is so little respect for the actors. What happened to those smart-attentive New York audiences?
UPDATE: Since publishing this article, the cast informed me of the final chapter of this fairy tale. Before the man was removed from the theatre, he punched the house manager, Russ Ramsey, in the face—breaking his expensive glasses. He was then arrested. What a jerk.
I’ll leave you with this Victoria Clark quote that I love: “Don’t let them steal your joy.” There may have been many disruptions during that performance, but I still got chills went the leads first kissed.
Broadway Buzz Exclusive by Paul Winkler| Photos by Carol Rosegg