Audience Member Disrupts First Preview of Thérèse Raquin

News   Audience Member Disrupts First Preview of Thérèse Raquin
 
The first preview of Broadway's Thérèse Raquin Oct. 1 was disrupted when a fan in the mezzanine began shouting his love for leading lady Keira Knightley, and attempted to propose marriage before he was escorted out by security.

Various accounts on social media describe the unidentified male fan as being intoxicated, shouting about Jesus, and tossing a bouquet of roses onto the stage of Studio 54 before being removed.

It was film star Knightley's Broadway debut.

Ghostlight composer-lyricist Matthew Martin was in the audience and provided Playbill.com with the following detailed account:

"I was sitting in the rear mezzanine and it happened almost immediately after the show began. The three leads enter and have a little scene, then the shutters lift and we're looking at a pool of water, beautifully designed by Beowulf Borritt. Gabriel Ebert and Keira were having a playful conversation by the water.

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley Photo by Jenny Anderson

"Suddenly we saw a young man enter, house left, the aisle between the front and rear mezzanine. He was carrying a bouquet of roses and began spouting off about both Jesus and Keira Knightley. He proposed marriage and kept saying things like, 'You have five seconds, Keira!' We couldn't grasp if Jesus and Keira were the same to him, or if he was just preaching while proposing. He seemed very fanatical and very disturbed. "He went down the steps to the rail at the front of the mezzanine and kept shouting. Because of the timing of when it happened, we in the audience thought at first that it was part of the show. But then an usher tentatively came over and whispered to him. He didn't pay any attention at first, but eventually backed up and sat in a seat in the fourth row of the front mezzanine. He kept shouting, 'You have five seconds left, Keira! That's not a long time!'

"We were all very freaked out at that point. Security didn't come right away. I think the ushers didn't want to do anything because the man seemed very dangerous. But Ebert and Knightley never broke character even though he was speaking directly to her and calling her by name. It didn't seem to throw her in the slightest.

"Eventually two male security people and a male usher came and spoke to him. Then they tried to forcibly eject him. At first he seemed to go along with them, but then, in one fluid motion, he tossed the bouquet, which spiraled down to the stage. We all gasped. It looked like a bouquet, but who knew what was in there? It landed on the stage, stage right, with a thud. Ebert finally took notice of [the situation]. He crossed over and kicked the bouquet into the stage-right wing. The audience applauded.

"The man tried to break away from the security guards as they were escorting him out, but they pulled his arms behind his back and took him out. We didn't se him him again after that.

"The scene had only about two more lines to go. Ebert exited and it ended with Keira perched on a rock overlooking the pool. She said her [character's] name once and the scene ended. But at that point the stage manager came out with a God mike and told the audience, 'We're going to take a little hold here.' I suspect they were checking if anything was in the roses. The house lights never came up. After a few minutes, Keira came back out and did the end of the scene again, and the show continued."

The New York Times reported that police took the man to a hospital for mental evaluation. He was not arrested nor charged with a crime, and his name was not released.

Producer Roundabout Theater Company provided Playbill.com with the following statement the morning of Oct. 2: "Roundabout takes the safety of their actors and audiences very seriously and extra security will be added beginning tonight. For obvious reasons, we cannot comment on the exact nature of the additional security measures."

Twitter user Kacey Bange described the man as a "stalker" who reportedly shouted, "Christ was born of a virgin! Keira marry me!"

Jennifer Tepper, who books Feinstein's/54 Below cabaret, tweeted, "I saw this person taken by police from Studio 54 in handcuffs tonight. Never a dull moment on 54th Street!"

 

 

 

 

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