Sunday, June 21, 2009

Breaking: Lupone Dresses Down Texting Audience Member in Vegas

She did it again!!!

Patti LuPone, the two-time Tony winner who exploded on stage on Broadway earlier this year when someone in the audience took a photo during "Gypsy," halted her one-woman performance in Vegas tonight to stop an audience member from texting right when she was winding up to sing her showstopper "Don't Cry For Me Argentina."

As LuPone was about to begin the song she made into a classic as the original Eva Peron in "Evita," she stopped and ask the man to stop what he was doing. She kept her cool and even told him, "I'm not going to yell at you, I don't think." Then she proceeded to kindly berate him -- she was sweet but terse -- and say she was on "a campaign" because such behavior is distracting and insulting to performers.

"The thing is, the people who text, they don't seem to understand that we can see you," she said. "If you really need to do that, why don't you just leave?"

With that, several audience members stood up and cheered her. There are clear signs outside the showroom warning against phone or camera use and an announcement before the show started.

"It's only the minority of people who do this," she said. "And the thing is, it's the light of it. The other people around you have got to be pissed off, too."

Yours truly suddenly had this overwhelming urge to text but managed to contain myself, all the while wondering how I could get out early to get my car out of valet before the rest of the crowd so I could write this post. I did Tweet some of this when waiting for my car, though @TheStripPodcast.

I'm glad I didn't leave too soon, though, because she came out for her encore with a disposable camera and took photos of the crowd and the band, an obvious homage to her freak-out on stage in "Gypsy" in January when she angrily bawled out someone at the performance taking photos. It turned out that the person was actually a credentialed photojournalist. (Since I totally spaced it on this one when I interviewed Patti for "The Strip" podcast last week, read Joe Brown's profile of Patti from the Sun for more from her on the New York incident.)

One last thing: LuPone did two nights at the Orleans. She did not berate anyone during Saturday's show, so it does not appear to have been a "bit."

To hear what happened in New York in January, watch this:

This time is different, of course, because it was a solo concert. In New York, she had to break character and halt the narrative to speak to the audience.

P.S. The Orleans show was AWESOME. But that's almost besides the point now, isn't it?

[UPDATE: My colleague, Las Vegas Sun entertainment scribe Joe Brown, posted this version. He had the advantage of being able to hear better; I could only hear her once she got going on the poor texting schlub. So for the complete tale, also read the LasVegasSun.Com post by clicking here.]


Janet S in Chicago said...

Damn, Steve. You've got the best right-place, right-time karma of anyone i've ever met. Nicely done!!!

Joe said...

Damn, you're fast!

You co-star with Patti in this post:

Anonymous said...

I'm a photojournalist, and I've always wondered if the photog Lupone dressed down during that performance of Gypsy might have been an accredited professional photographer, especially since New York Magazine was apparently shooting a spread on her that weekend. Do you know that to be true? If so, I doubt the shooter was using a flash...but please answer, I'd really like to know! Thanks....


Anon #3: According to Mike Weatherford in the Review-Journal last week, the photographer at the NY incident was accredited. I don't know for whom. You can see his report here:

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