Actor breaks character mid-play to confront audience member who yelled a gay slur.
Liquor is one way out and death's the other. (via LA Splash)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof won the Pulitzer for drama in 1955. This year the drama took place off the stage. A Los Angeles revival of the play was cancelled this week after John Lacey, the man playing Big Daddy, left the stage mid-scene to confront a drunken heckler. The audience member, who had been seen drinking during intermission with his friend, had been yelling and cat-calling throughout the show. He crossed the line for Lacey when, after the character Big Daddy asked Brick why he doesn't kiss Maggie, the heckler yelled out "because he's a fag." And before you ask, both Jonah Hill and Justin Bieber have plausible alibis. According to Lacey in an interview with Playbill,
"Brick tried to respond, and he said it again. I just said, 'What did you say, motherf*cker?' ... I went through our fake stage door, took off my vest, went into the audience -- as he stood proudly to stare at me with a stupid grin on his face - [and] I pushed him, and he was drunk, so he just easily collapsed... I knew better than to start throwing punches, I had made my point. I silenced the heckler, and thankfully, one of the audience members -- this enormous 6'5", 280-lb. filmmaker named Tim Sullivan, who happened to be gay and was not at all happy with what was happening -- reached over and picked this guy up by his shirt collar and literally carried him out of the theatre."
Lacey then asked the audience if they would like for the show to continue and returned to the stage to finish the play. The next day, though, producers fired Lacey for his behavior, causing the actor playing Brick to quit in solidarity.
A press release from the theater explains, "Due to unforeseen circumstances, the run of the Tennessee Williams drama Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at the Repertory East Playhouse in Newhall has been suspended and the show will not be completing its projected performance schedule."
"The management of the REP regrets that this situation was not brought to their attention sooner and would like to assure future audiences that disruptive behavior, including disparaging remarks from the audience, incidents of bullying or hate speech, and racial, discriminatory or homophobic utterances, will not be tolerated and offending parties will be asked to leave."
That's what they say now, but the situation was brought to their attention. In fact, they knew about it before Lacey. As Lacey reports to Playbill, "Just as I'm about to step on stage, the producer who was in the house that night -- his name is Mikee Schwinn -- whispers in my ear, 'This is the drunkest audience we've ever had.'"
Maybe in his next life Schwinn will take care of issues himself, instead of waiting for his actors to become bouncers.
(by Myka Fox)