Favorite show mishap

Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 05:46pm
Hearing the story about Ramin glaring into the audience thoroughly brightened my day, and I was wondering if anyone else had any stories of unexpected occurrences in shows.

Personally, my only mishap was when I got lottery for Book of Mormon. Elder Cunningham did a kick during Man Up and his show flew past my head into the audience and hit the woman in the row behind me. He lost his words for a minute laughing, and then just kept performing shoeless since it was the last number before intermission
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 06:08pm
This one. Since it's so beautifully covered. Anyone in the audience who had never seen the show before had no idea that anything was amiss.
promisespromises2 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 06:13pm
I've never seen a noticeable (by me) stage mishap, but I'm usually SO into the show that I never notice when someone messes up. The only time I've ever noticed someone have a mishap was in Cinderella and Santino Fontana had to cough halfway through a song. MY favorite that I've seen on Youtube is this from a production of Into the Woods where Milky White's leg gets amputated. I seriously laugh so much that my chest hurts every time I watch it.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 06:42pm
I was the Production Coordinator when the Theatre for the Performing Arts in Miami Beach was first renovated. (It had previously been used by Jackie Gleason for THE HONEYMOONERS.) This was in the mid-70s.

It had 3,000+ seats and sound was always a problem. We finally solved the problem (somewhat) by using body mikes, at the time a somewhat new technology in regional theaters. (Miking a star wasn't new, but it caused such an imbalance in our system that we had to mike each principal individually.)

The problem became particularly acute when Lauren Bacall came to town in WONDERFUL TOWN, because although she was terrific on stage, she started swearing like a pirate as soon as she stepped into the wings.

Our solution was to have me function as a second ASM and call the sound cues (including body mikes on and off) separately while the PSM called the rest of the cues. I did so while sitting in the sound booth with the sound engineer and was not allowed to touch the equipment since that was a union job.

(If this all sounds convoluted, keep in mind it was 1977 and made sense at the time.)

One night in the middle of Act I, the sound tech suddenly said, "The board is overheating and it's gonna blow! You take over.", and ran out of the booth. The actual board was on the far side of the 3,000-seat house.

The next scene was the one that illustrates selections from Ruth's writing and has a lot of special sound cues such as crowd laughter and, finally, a lion roaring. In those days the cues were all on one reel-to-reel tape on a machine which I had never operated.

So I missed the first sound effect trying to figure out the machine and overshot the second cue trying to catch up. That put me one cue ahead and one cue (a lion's roar) short at the climax of the scene.

Not knowing what else to do, I flipped on the switch to the theater PA system and did my best lion's roar into the mike. The sound echoed through the house and stage.

I was quite proud of my ingenuity at the time, but the PSM refused to speak to me for the rest of the week. Ah, show biz!

Updated On: 4/14/14 at 06:42 PM
gleek4114 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 06:55pm
I love when Annaleigh gets "attacked" by bubbles!

Wicked Bloopers
DottieD'Luscia Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 07:03pm
Original production of Les Miserables. Javert never made it to the stage for One Day More as he was locked in the men's room.
Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
Mr. Nowack Profile Photo
Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 09:55pm
I was doing the sound effects for my High School production of HAIRSPRAY and during "Without Love" I was supposed to do a telephone ring, but I gave them a hightop cymbal instead. I don't know why, but I found it hilarious, and devastating. Prudy went right on with her dialogue about the phone ringing, even though it never did.

I've never noticed anything go majorly wrong in a professional production.
I was previously known as Mr. Nowak (Joined: 5/20/13).
perfectlymarvelous Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 10:11pm
My favorite one that I've witnessed was during a preview of Women on the Verge where a set piece wouldn't come on right before "Model Behavior" and the show was stopped for a few minutes. Laura Benanti proceeded to come out onstage and play charades with the audience in character, and then once the number started, she referenced her charades clues by making an exit while flapping her arms like a bird and another one by using her arm as an elephant trunk. It was hysterical.
quizking101 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/14/14 at 10:12pm
Press night for GHOST. The set completely breaking down and crashing during the beginning of the song "Nothing Stops Another Day" (ironically).

It took 45 minutes to get the show back on track.
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 08:32am
Very recently, I remember a performance of Kinky Boots when Lola's heel breaks off right in the middle of the "Sex is in the Heel number. God love him, Billy kept singing and dancing without missing a beat...including kicking off the shoe, dancing with one shoe on, and getting a new replacement shoe on brought on stage by a "factory worker" and put on his foot. He got extra applause for that one.

Also at Kinky Boots, I don't know if I would call it a mishap, but at one performance when the factory workers are talking about the ability to make a strong heel for a boot to be worn by a man, saying. "we can do it", some guy from the upper balcony yelled out, "Yeah you can do it, I know you can do it"..and the entire cast cracked up.

Most recently, at a recent performance of Matilda, at the very end of the show Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, their son ...and Rudolpho.. run out down the left side aisle of the audience to get away from the Russian Mafia. The librarian is setting up the touching ending with Matilda and Ms. Honey. Mrs. Phelps says that the Wormwoods have left..and then we hear yelling from the back of the house "AND RUDOLPHO". Well obviously this standing room audience member had no idea this was happening.. so when"AND RUDOLPHO" was yelled right behind her, she was startled and screamed soooo loud out of fright. It took a few moments for everyone to get back into the could see Ms. Honey and Matilda sort of waiting a minute before they said their final lines, to make sure all was well.

Updated On: 4/20/14 at 08:32 AM
busylizzie238 Profile Photo
Chorus Member
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 09:08am
Seth Rudetsky is great at getting actors to tell show debacles, my favourite is Nicole Parker's doesn't start until about 02:30

Oh and this too which I think was at Disneyland
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 10:20am
I have two. 1) at CABARET (the '98 version of this revival), when the front part of the set flies up during the finale, it got caught on the music stands left by the orchestra, lifting them in the air, then dropping them and causing them to shatter, as the poor chorus girls tried to keep straight faces while dodging chunks of metal.

2) Some dinner theatre in Orlando about 20 years ago. One of the actors completely forgot his lines. That alone isn't anything that funny, but he started ad libbing and wandering out into the audience, bumping into a table and spilling coffee all over an audience member in the process.
carolinaguy Profile Photo
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 12:46pm
At a performance of "Wicked"--it was when Julia Murney was playing Elphaba and I've forgotten who the Glinda was. Anyway, during the opening number, the bubble contraption caught Glinda's wig when it started to lift and dragged her back a couple of feet before it stopped and one of the Ozians disentangled her. She gave the bubble machine a hilarious glare and then continued on.
But just remembering you've had an "and" When you're back to "or" Makes the "or" mean more than it did before Now I understand! And it's time to leave the woods.
James885 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 01:09pm
During the Aida tour, the giant museum tomb got stuck during the transition to Fortune Favors The Brave. All the actors had to dance around it until finally a group of stagehands came out and pushed it off.

Another time during the Legally Blonde tour, somebody's jump rope kept getting tangled during Whipped Into Shape.

"You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!" - Betty Parris to Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller's The Crucible
Updated On: 4/15/14 at 01:09 PM
Alix Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 01:15pm
I saw a touring production of Les Mis in D.C. about ten years ago. The fire alarm in the theater went off during "I Dreamed a Dream" and we had to evacuate. We waited outside in front of the theater, alongside the cast, in full costume, for a good half hour before the fire department gave the all-clear. When the show resumed they started the scene over, but it somehow didn't pack the emotional punch it might have otherwise.

Also, the one and only time I saw the Bway production of Chicago (also about a decade ago), I saw the understudy for Billy Flynn. He had to ask for a line prompt at least three times during the show. :/
"The world only spins forward." ~ 'Angels in America'
VotePeron Profile Photo
Leading Actor
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 01:21pm
During How to Succeed with Nick Jonas, an ensemble member fell into the pit during the Heidi La Rue mermaid TV number.
Broadway Star
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 01:23pm
The first one that comes to mind for me is a performance of "Guys and Dolls" at Wolf Trap (an outdoor theater) in Virginia. Brian and Diane Sutherland as Sky and Sarah kept getting dive-bombed by a bird while singing "I've Never Been in Love Before." They tried so hard to hold back the laughter, but couldn't quite manage it!

Alix, I was at that same "Les Mis" performance where the fire alarm went off! Small world! But I enjoyed hanging out with the cast -- they were nice and chatty and I got an autograph or two.
Alix Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 01:28pm
Ha! How funny, MCfan2! I should probably see a less eventful (in that way) performance of Les Mis at some point....
"The world only spins forward." ~ 'Angels in America'
LizzieCurry Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 01:46pm
One of my favorites I witnessed firsthand was at Spider-Man, in previews during the final week or two of the Taymor version. At the end of Act 1, the stunt-Spider-Man's harness got stuck to MJ's sweater while they were in the air, and they took several seconds to untangle, once they were both on stage. You could kind of tell the audience had been waiting for something to happen (not that they were bloodthirsty), and let out appreciative, supportive applause. Especially when Spider-Man turned towards us with a big thumbs-up!
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
BwayGeek2 Profile Photo
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 02:10pm
At Nice Work if You Can Get It during a scene change a bed is lowered into the stage, but it didn't work correctly and a gaping hole was left in the middle of the stage. The next scene was supposed to be outdoors, so Michael McGrath improv-ed a great bit about putting in a pool. Then when the set finally worked a pillow ended up left on the stage and he picked it up and just looked up at the "sky" as if to ask "where the hell did this come from?" Funny moment.
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 02:41pm
I remember once in a matinee of Wicked in the West End with Dianne Pilkington and Kerry Ellis that Galinda's bed stopped moving about halfway between coming on stage and reaching it's position. I can't remember exactly what happened but they missed a few lines of the scene and the bed had to be pushed off stage with Dianne holding her final pose at the end of the show.

I'm sure that something else went wrong during that performance. It was that night that Kerry's microphone was left on as she went off stage before No Good Deed, telling someone to throw their hairpins at the (extremely loud and annoying) girls in the front row.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 06:03pm
At a regional production of GYPSY (with Lansbury) in the mid-70s, there was a wardrobe malfunction during the climactic strip number. The actress playing Louise, Nana Tucker, ad libbed: "My clothes don't want to come off me. Can you blame them?" and brought down the house.

She was 19 at the time and, I thought, showed amazing composure.
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 06:31pm
At an early preview of Billy Elliot, they had a problem with the stage elevator, and after several attempts, Billy finally had to do the Angry Dance on a empty stage. Director Stephen Daldry apologized to the audience and offered comps for a future performance. I went on to become a big fan of the show, seeing it five more times including the London and Toronto productions and the national tour in Tempe, AZ.
StickIt Profile Photo
Featured Actor
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 08:56pm
If we're gonna talk Nice Work If You Can Get It mishaps, you could write a book. But my favorite was when after "Delishious", there's a scene between Cookie and the police officer and eventually Billie in the foyer of Jimmy's house. Except...the giant pink bathtub used for Delishious remained onstage, the lift was broken. Michael McGrath was a PRO, he scrubbed around it with his mop for awhile, clearly waiting for it to disappear, and finally looked up at the audience and said: "Why the hell is there a bathtub in the living room?" Everyone lost it, and he began to ham it up, it went on about four or five minutes, but it felt much longer than that. I remember him shouting at the back of the house to open the bar, and from the side, you could see the whole cast in the wings, watching him. When it finally went down under the stage, he said: "Alright, that was what's called improv, now just like in rehearsal, let's take it from the top!" And the scene was reset and restarted.
haterobics Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 4/15/14 at 11:03pm
I posted this in the Bravo Ramin thread, as well, but it is still making me smile so much...

Tonight, I witnessed the best cell phone ring in the theater in recent memory at "All The Way." It was right in the middle of MLK talking. He said...

"And then..."

And he took a beat, and in that silence, a cell phone rang out in the theater. So, he continued the rest of his line, which was:

..."the phone rings."

And he pointed to the section of the orchestra where the phone had been ringing, but never broke character, just pointed in that direction wistfully, as though it was part of the show.

The audience chuckled a bit, and the scene continued on perfectly.

Admittedly, it is hard to get them to ring at exactly the right time, so this method won't work in most cases.
Broadway Legend
Favorite show mishap
Posted: 6/22/14 at 12:19pm
Just this week - not my FAVORITE mishap but still an "interesting" evening at Matilda this past Friday.

First was fun..Matilda changes the large kid cast from show to show but on Friday night there was an unexpected last minute change. On the board outside and in the program, it was noted that Mitchell was going on as Bruce - but we heard over the loud speaker right before curtain that Chris Sumpter was going to be Bruce. All the kids on stage behind the curtain squealed and applauded really loudly...maybe it was his first time?? It was kind of sweet.

Then during the show, the "bathroom" set didn't pop up (and then sort of popped up late,but not exactly all the way) Matilda had to run off stage to get the hair tonic bottles...twice. Not sure if Paige knew this was going to be a problem beforehand, but she didn't miss a beat. There were a couple of other things that happened as well. Its hard to tell from the side but it sounded like Bruce's mic went off at the end of Revolting Children because Chris was doing a great job singing and then you couldn't hear him. Also it looked like Matilda and Trunch entered for their curtain calls from different spots on stage because a set piece did not move? Not sure about that one..

I have sat in lottery side orchestra seats before where you can pretty much see into the wings but I have never seen so many backstage people frantically "running" round doing things.

To top the evening, I noticed that a few cast members kept looking down into the audience and this poor older woman usher kept running back and forth throughout the show. She later told me there was a drunk in row AA - I guess not rowdy enough to be removed?? but enough that was distracting for the cast and more work for the ushers.

The joys of live theater...

Updated On: 6/22/14 at 12:19 PM


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