Exclusive! Meet the Guy Who Tried to Charge His Phone on Stage at Hand to God

"I was the one." Meet Nick Silvestri of Seaford, Long Island. On July 2 he entered Broadway legend by doing something nearly all of us do every day: he plugged in his cell phone charger.

What made Silvestri different is that he plugged it into a prop outlet on the stage set of the Broadway comedy Hand to God. Witnesses turned to social media. Twitter lit up. When a video appeared on YouTube, it lit up further and got more than 140,000 hits.

The 19-year-old lacrosse-playing Nassau Community College student said he is not seeking publicity. He did not volunteer himself to Playbill.com. Our staff tracked him down through Twitter and he was hesitant at first about allowing his name to be used.

So, to answer your questions, he said the incident was not a dare. It was not intended as a joke. His iPhone 6 was just low on juice.

Nick Silvestri and friends
Nick Silvestri and friends

Why did he do it? What was the emergency? "Girls were calling all day. What would you do?"

Silvestri had had a busy day. He was in town with his family, his neighbors and his cousins from California. "We go to see shows maybe once a year and we heard this play was supposed to be funny." They ate beforehand at a restaurant about a half block from the Booth Theatre where Hand to God is playing. They had a few drinks, and he admits "we were a little banged up."

When he noticed his phone was down to two bars of power, he tried to plug it into the USB port on the big-screen TV in the lounge at the back of the restaurant, but "I got yelled at by the manager."

By time the meal was over he had about 5 percent left on his battery, he said.

Silvestri's group headed to the Booth Theatre, and they were seated in the orchestra section.

That's when he saw the outlet on Beowulf Boritt's church basement set.

"I saw the outlet and ran for it," he said. "That was the only outlet I saw, so I thought, 'Why not?' I was thinking that they were probably going to plug something in there on the set, and I figured it wouldn't be a big deal if my phone was up there too."

Hand to God Set Designer Tells How He Made an Electrical Outlet So Realistic, Someone Tried to Charge a Cell Phone On It

The reaction was immediate. Members of the audience shouted, and "about five security guards came running down. So I hopped off the stage. They were pretty mad. They said, 'What were you thinking?' I said, 'Hey, buddy, what's the problem?'"

Steven Boyer and Tyrone in <i>Hand to God</i>
Steven Boyer and Tyrone in Hand to God (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Silvestri then asked the guards if he could jump back on the stage and retrieve his phone.

"They said, 'Are you crazy?,'" and one of them went up and got the phone.

Silvestri returned to his seat with his smart phone, but the drama wasn't over yet. "The head guy came down and started yelling at me in front of my family and the whole place. My mother kept saying, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' and they finally let us us stay and watch the play."

And what did he think of Hand to God? "We enjoyed the show. I'm not much of a play guy, but it wasn't bad."

Did he ever get to charge his phone?

"No."

Silvestri said he became aware of his growing online celebrity within a few days. "The next day my friend sent me a link to Facebook. Somebody was saying 'some kid jumped on stage.' 'Moron jumps on stage.'"

What did he think of that?

"Oh, hilarious."

In retrospect, what would he say to the cast? "Hey, I'm sorry if I delayed your show five minutes. But you got a lot of attention from this, so maybe I made your show a little better [better known]."

We've Got the Footage! Audience Member Tries to Use Stage Outlet to Charge Phone at Hand to God