Two weeks ago, I saw some of the best audience parenting I ever saw at a performance of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway. A mother and her two children (tween girl, young boy) sat down next to me. Not a problem. They seemed like good kids. The mother said, and I quote, "If your phones go off during the performance, I'm taking you out of the theater. No discussion." Cellphones are a nuisance and a safety hazard in the theater. The ringing and lights are a distraction to the audience and actors, and if the actors/crew/technicians get distracted, bad things can happen. We can't expect the Patti Lupones of the world to be the only ones to snatch phones out of the audience or shut bad theater behavior down. There needs to be some accountability on behalf of the audience, too.
I mean, where do people learn such horrible behavior from? Oh, what's that? AT&T actually encouraged people to stream live football games in the theater in one of their online ads?
I mean, who greenlights this kind of advertisement? Yes, let's encourage bad theater behavior because FOOTBALL is the center of the universe. And such lovely seats in the theater, too. Looks like about 8th row back in the orchestra with a gradual rake in the seats. Yeah, everyone around you would hate you if you did this. Also, the actors would say, "Some idiot has their phone out house center, do something" to everyone they could backstage. Pretty soon, you're being accosted by your fellow audience members and the house manager to get out and stop ruining the magic of theater.
AT&T learned very quickly not to mess with live theater, as the stars of professional theater rained hellfire on their stupidity all over Twitter. BroadwayWorld has a pretty thorough rundown of the best of the best. My favorites?
AT&T has since quietly deleted the post and would like you to forget they ever told people to stream the big game while attending live theater. They'd like you to forget. I encourage you not to. Not in a "boycott AT&T" way, but in a "remember how mad people get when you use your phone in the theater way."