Patti LuPone grabbed a cell phone out of an audience member’s hands mid-performance during her off-Broadway show Shows for Days.

Patti LuPone Grabs Cell Phone From Texting Audience Member

The Tony Award winner and veteran theater actress was performing on Wednesday night when an audience member began texting in the audience. LuPone shocked the audience when she walked by the audience member, in character, and grabbed the phone from her hands. LuPone walked off stage with the phone in hand, and it was reportedly returned to the owner after the show.

After the show was over, LuPone took the stage to address the incident and speak to the audience, calling audience members who use their cell phones “rude” and “self-absorbed.”

“We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else – the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage. I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform,” she told the crowd.

LuPone stars as an artistic director in Shows for Days, a play that is set with an open stage that allows LuPone to interact with audience members. Staying in character, LuPone walked up to the texting audience member and shook her hand, all as part of the show, grabbing the phone. “It was the fastest sleight of hand ever. I shook her hand with one hand and took her phone with the other. Took it. I didn’t grab. I thought, ‘Holy s—t, that was easy,’” LuPone told NY Daily News.

According to LuPone, the audience member had been texting throughout the first act, inspiring her to take action. LuPone is not one to hide her disdain for modern theatergoer behavior. Before every show, an announcement asks audience members to turn off their cell phones and refrain from recording or taking photos during the show, but many don’t listen. Just last week, an audience member at Broadway’s Hand to God jumped onto the stage to plug his phone charger into an outlet on the set.

LuPone’s co-stars, contemporaries and fans have applauded her actions on social media, and the Lincoln Center Theater is also standing by their star.