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Death of a Salesman had its Dec. 27 holiday performance disrupted by an audience member who approached the Broadway production’s stage and repeatedly engaged with members of its cast, including actor Wendell Pierce, amid the live show.
The NYPD was called to the W. 44th St. Hudson Theatre on Tuesday night around 9 p.m. following a 911 call over a “disorderly person,” a spokesperson for the department told The Hollywood Reporter. No arrest was made.
In a statement shared with THR, the play’s producers said, “We’re grateful to the entire team at the Hudson Theatre for working together to resolve the situation and resume the performance as quickly as possible.”
The incident was shared over social media by several people in attendance, including one alleged audience member who lauded star Pierce for segueing “seamlessly back into the role of a lifetime,” a move they deemed remarkable “given the real-life drama that could have derailed the entire night.”
“Tonight, in the middle of his electrifying performance as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN, he was forced to break character when an irate, seemingly inebriated audience member disrupted the play’s second act so intensely that the action had to be suspended,” the user wrote in an Instagram post. “When the house lights came up, he patiently & heroically pleaded with her to leave peacefully despite her insistence that she should be carried out forcefully (she was eventually escorted out by police).”
Another user captured video of the incident, since published to TikTok, during which Pierce can be seen negotiating with the audience member — first to allow her to stay and then to refund the cost of her ticket — in an attempt to end the disruption and return to the show. Calls for the cast to clear the stage and angry reactions from disgruntled audience members can also be heard amid the woman’s refusal to leave the theater.
The disruption follows several other audience-driven decorum incidents over the last year. The now-closed Company saw star Patti LuPone engage in a verbal spat with an audience member over masking during a post-show talkback.
Take Me Out also had its no photo or recording policy violated when an audience member posted an image of actor Jesse Williams performing during one of the Tony-winning play’s nude scenes. The production, which returned for a second run after a limited engagement this spring, updated its security protocols following the incident.
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Jamie Lee Curtis