Would you shut your phones off for Christ sakes?" Those were the words shouted by actor Stanley Tucci during the Aug. 14 performance of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at the Belasco Theatre. It was just a few minutes into the second half of the Terrence McNally play when an audience member's cell phone began ringing loudly. Tucci, whose character Johnny, a somewhat gruff short-order cook who says whatever is on his mind, almost seemed in character when he admonished the theatregoer.
The audience responded with a thunderous applause. A few awkward moments followed before Tucci and co-star Edie Falco were able to find their way back into the play.
A night earlier — at the Aug. 13 Frankie and Johnny performance — two separate cell phones went off during the performance.
Coincidentally, news broke on the morning of Aug. 14 that Councilman Phil Reed, an East Harlem Democrat, plans to introduce a bill at City Hall that would force theatregoers — as well as those attending movie theatres, libraries, galleries, concert halls and other recital venues — to turn off their beepers and cell phones.
"It happens all the time," Reed commented at City Hall, referring to the ringing of cell phones during a Broadway performance. "[The new bill] then gives the theatre owner the authority to tell people, 'You are violating the law, you have to leave.'" Violators may be fined $50 or more for their rudeness.
The limited engagement of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune plays the Belasco Theatre, which is located at 111 W. 44th Street. Tickets are available by calling Telecharge at (212) 239-6200.
—By Andrew Gans