It’s been five years since a flash photo made Patti LuPone famously stop a performance of Gypsy ("Stop taking pictures RIGHT NOW!"), but sadly, the photo-taking, the cell phone ringing, the candy-crinkling, and uh, the vomiting on Broadway has only gotten worse. With theater audiences getting ruder by the minute, the brave cast of Les Miserables is leading a revolution at the Imperial Theatre, and they’re trying to put a stop to the obnoxious patrons that make seeing a Broadway show completely miserables for the rest of us. Ramin Karimloo, Andy Mientus, Will Swenson and Nikki M. James have five simple theater etiquette rules for you—and if you’re smart, you’ll listen. (Remember, they have guns.)
1. Phones off (or beware the death stare)
Les Miz headliner Ramin Karimloo made The New York Post’s “Page Six” this week—he reportedly stopped the show while “throwing a scathing look in the direction of an audience member’s ringing cell phone.” So put those phones on silent, everyone. Not vibrate. Silent. Trust us, you don’t want to mess with this guy. He can bench press his own body weight.
2. No taking pictures...ever!
Seriously, people. Have you learned nothing from LuPone? Andy Mientus, who plays Marius in the new revival, recently tweeted, “Hey folks snapping pics during this matinee—I'm excited that you're excited but it's not allowed and we can see you. Sit back and enjoy!” It’s a slightly more polite approach than stopping the show and ordering the ushers to drag the snap-happy patrons out, but it totally gets the point across.
3. All "Soliloquy" texting is banned
Will Swenson, who plays Les Miz baddie Javert, sent this response to one distracted audience member via tweet: “To the man in the 5th or 6th row who was texting during my 'soliloquy'—You f*cking suck. Everyone else...I love.” You heard the man, stick that stupid phone on airplane mode or answer to Javert, jerks.
4. Stop with the hate tweets
Crinkle candy wrappers, let your phone vibrate endlessly, but please, whatever you do, don’t badmouth the actors and then tag them on Twitter. “Actors have feelings, too,” tweeted Les Miz star Nikki M. James after a rude theatergoer publically bashed her performance online. And last week, they were saying it to her face at the stage door! Geez, whatever happened to criticizing actors behind their backs?
5. Bootlegs call for corporal punishment
To cut down on the amount of illegal recordings being made in the Imperial Theatre, Karimloo has implemented a neighborhood watch program. He tweeted: “If you see a patron recording, feel free to flick their ear, tell them to stop and then say, 'that was from JVJ'. I thank you.” Hmm, good thinking, Ramin, but something tells us a stellar bootleg of “Bring Him Home” is totally worth a couple of ear flicks.
See Les Miserables at the Imperial Theatre...if you dare!