Tuesday, September 29, 2009

He Could Hear You Now

Hugh Jackman stops the show.

He did it recently when a cell phone call interrupted a preview performance of A Steady Rain, the Broadway play that stars Jackman and Daniel Craig.

The crude video shown by the TMZ.com Website appears to have been shot from the audience.

It shows Jackman breaking character to tell the owner of the ringing cell phone, “You want to get that?” as the audience erupts in cheers. As the ringing persists, Jackman pleads: “Come on, just turn it off.” He then paces the stage of the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, waits about a minute for the ringing to stop and the play resumes.

Producers of A Steady Rain declined to comment.

The interruption occurred during an intense moment in the play, when Jackman’s character, a Chicago policeman, reveals haunting memories.

A customary loudspeaker announcement reminds theatregoers to turn off their phones. Since the incident, ushers who seat patrons and pass out playbills at Schoenfeld are also instructing patrons to silence their phones.

That reminds me of a story about the late Joseph Maher, a wonderful character actor on screen and a classically trained actor. He was once in a production of Julius Caesar playing one of the assassins. At a point in the play where he and another conspirator were about to murder Caesar, the stage manager’s phone rang off stage. Without missing a beat, Mr. Maher said, “What shall we do if it is for Caesar?”