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Actors Freaking Out on Stage

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PatrickDC
Broadway Star
joined:10/3/16
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10/3/16
Actors Freaking Out on Stage#1
Posted: 1/22/17 at 1:29am

TOOTSIE was on PBS tonight, always enjoy this film. Watching when Michael reveals himself to be a man on live television got me thinking. Has an actor ever done something similar on stage? I was wondering if some on-edge musical ensemble member made a scene by doing different choreography, or just stopping the show to yell out some political or personal rant? Sure, they'd "never work in this town again" but if they're unstable and they may not care about it. 

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Mr. Nowack
Broadway Legend
joined:2/2/14
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#2
Posted: 1/22/17 at 4:24am

STOP. TAKING. PICTURES.

Also remember that time Ivy Lynn was fired for falling over pizz-azz drunk during Norbert Leo Butz's big number????

Keeping BroadwayWorld Illustrated
UncleCharlie
Broadway Legend
joined:6/26/16
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#3
Posted: 1/22/17 at 5:57am

And the time that actor, John something or other leapt onto the stage from one of the boxes shouting something during Our American Cousin. I'm not even sure he was in the play. Crazy!

smidge
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joined:5/16/06
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#4
Posted: 1/22/17 at 6:40am

I Hate Hamlet with Nicol Williamson smacking Evan Handler with a sword and Handler walking off stage and out of the theatre. 

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AC126748
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joined:7/15/06
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#5
Posted: 1/22/17 at 9:06am

The late Richard Griffiths famously stopped several performances of The History Boys, both on Broadway and in London, to admonish the audience after multiple cell phones went off. 

Daniel Day-Lewis had a nervous breakdown on stage while performing Hamlet in London in 1989. He claimed to have seen the ghost of his own father during the scene in which Hamlet sees the ghost of the king. He walked off the production mid-performance and has not acted on stage since.

Toni Collette walked out of a performance of The Wild Party after her co-star, Mandy Patinkin, spat water in her face as part of an ad-lib. She returned for the next performance, though.

"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
akmiller_98
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ggersten
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joined:5/11/06
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#7
Posted: 1/22/17 at 6:36pm

AC126748 said: "Daniel Day-Lewis had a nervous breakdown on stage while performing Hamlet in London in 1989. He claimed to have seen the ghost of his own father during the scene in which Hamlet sees the ghost of the king. He walked off the production mid-performance and has not acted on stage since."

And I thought Slings and Arrows originated that idea - I guess not!

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xxdrewboy85xx
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joined:5/17/07
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#8
Posted: 1/22/17 at 7:15pm

This isn't really an "actor freaking out" example, but the first thing that came to my mind (besides the Toni Collette incident already mentioned) was when Christian Slater played Tom in The Glass Menagerie opposite Jessica Lange and during the bra stuffing scene he ran on stage saying something like "I gotta get in on this" and started making inappropriate gestures towards Laura.  But I'm sure the actors had a major freak out towards him backstage. 

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morosco
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joined:7/10/04
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#9
Posted: 1/22/17 at 7:27pm

Kelly Bishop walking off the stage during a performance of A CHORUS LINE?

Hard to confirm if this is true.  I think I remember reading about the incident in a book but I can't figure out what book it was.  I just did a search online and the only reference I could find was a BWW post in 2009 which quoted the following from a now-defunct online source:

After almost a year and a half in the show, Kelly asked the producers for a raise, which they refused. Colleague Justin Ross said: "It was nothing unreasonable; she had been doing the show a long time and just wanted a perk. They refused her, and she became preoccupied with it. She stepped forward to begin her monologue, and suddenly said, 'Zach, I have to leave. I can't talk to you any longer. I'm sorry.' Joe Bennett, who was playing Zach, said, 'Sheila, if the light's bothering you, we can change it,' to try to get her back into the lines. She paused at the proscenium and said, 'I have to go. I'm sorry,' and exited. Thommie Walsh, who was close to Kelly on and offstage, said, 'Zach, I think I better check on Sheila,' which left two gaping holes next to each other on the line. No one had any idea that this was going to happen, including Kelly. Zach cut to Kristine, skipping 'At the Ballet,' and you could hear pages flipping wildly in the pit. After that, Sheila didn't exist, and some of her lines were given to other people.

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Gorlois
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joined:5/18/13
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#10
Posted: 1/22/17 at 7:30pm

""The greatest triumph was reserved for Susan Mountfort, a former actress at Lincoln's Inn Fields who had gone mad after her lover's betrayal. One night in 1720 she escaped from her keeper, rushed to the theater, and just as the Ophelia of the evening was to enter for her mad scene, "sprang forward in her place ... with wild eyes and wavering motion." As a contemporary reported, "she was in truth Ophelia herself, to the amazement of the performers as well as of the audience—nature having made this last effort, her vital powers failed her and she died soon after."

 

This very well may be apocryphal, but it's always been a very vivid image in my head.

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kjck89
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#11
Posted: 1/22/17 at 8:00pm

I can't think of any that I know of, but I love reading the posts. I don't know why but the first thing that came to my mind of an actor freaking out (but granted not on stage) was Shia LaBeouf at Cabaret. Kudos to Alan Cumming for keeping calm. 

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henrikegerman
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joined:4/29/05
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#12
Posted: 1/22/17 at 8:08pm

Wouldn't call it "freaking out" but I once saw Katharine Hepburn stop a show and zealously demand that an audience member taking flash photos leave.

green waver
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#13
Posted: 1/22/17 at 11:17pm

Forty five years ago, I went with my mom to see Danny Kaye ion "Two by Two". He was performing with a broken ankle or leg(can't remember which). He whacked Walter Willison and Harry Goz with his crutch as they walked by, and goosed Joan Copeland as he sang his ballad to her. She did not appear too pleased! Audience gave him quite an ovation at the curtain, but really...

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g.d.e.l.g.i.
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#14
Posted: 1/22/17 at 11:22pm

What about that time a Phantom got too into character and lost his shit entirely? Documented here.

Formerly gvendo2005
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¿Macavity?
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#15
Posted: 1/23/17 at 2:01am

g.d.e.l.g.i. said: "What about that time a Phantom got too into character and lost his shit entirely? Documented here.

 

"

This got quite a laugh out of me, thanks for sharing.

NJGUY
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#16
Posted: 1/23/17 at 11:29am

Katherine Hepburn (I was in the audience) in the Ken Cen for West Side Waltz 1980/81; near the end of the run there.  KH came out (as I remember, Dorothy Louden was already seated) and the audience started respectively clapping (no hoots).  She threw her hands up and angrily said that we (the audience) should be quiet and that she is going to start the performance all over again.  TShe passed away before she would have to witness audience behavior of today 

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g.d.e.l.g.i.
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#17
Posted: 1/23/17 at 11:33am

¿Macavity? said: "This got quite a laugh out of me, thanks for sharing."

Just in case you couldn't figure it out for yourself, his outburst was as follows: "No! No! Fuck! Goddammit -- you lying bitch!"

Formerly gvendo2005
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icecreambenjamin
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#18
Posted: 1/23/17 at 11:35am

g.d.e.l.g.i. said: "What about that time a Phantom got too into character and lost his shit entirely? Documented here.

 

"

Omg that was hilarious.

 

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carolinaguy
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#19
Posted: 1/23/17 at 11:52am

One of my favorite stories in Ken Mendelbaum's Not Since Carrie is about actress Henrietta Jacobson turning to the audience during a performance of Chu Chem in its Philadelphia tryout and saying, "There was a song here, but you'll be better off without it."

I'm sending pictures of the most amazing trees/You'll be obsessed with all my forest expertise
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Scarywarhol
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#20
Posted: 1/23/17 at 12:46pm

g.d.e.l.g.i. said: "What about that time a Phantom got too into character and lost his shit entirely? Documented here.

 

"
Good lord, what was happening on that stage? It sounds like there was an accident until I think I made out "You lyin' bitch!"

 

EvanstonDad
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joined:5/10/16
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#21
Posted: 1/23/17 at 12:59pm

I seem to remember reading about a performance of Mary Stuart during which Janet McTeer got so worked up in character that she had to pause the performance and ask for a drink of water until she settled back down. Does anyone else remember reading about that or see it in person?

LarryD2
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#22
Posted: 1/23/17 at 1:09pm

EvanstonDad said: "I seem to remember reading about a performance of Mary Stuart during which Janet McTeer got so worked up in character that she had to pause the performance and ask for a drink of water until she settled back down. Does anyone else remember reading about that or see it in person?

 

"

I was there for that performance. It was a Saturday matinee about two months into the run.

The performance started without a hitch. The incident occurred about 15 minutes into the performance. McTeer gasped for breath, and she was sweating quite a bit. At first I feared she was having a heart attack.

Then she started saying "I'm sorry" over and over. I had seen the production previously, so I knew this wasn't part of the play. Then she said, "I'm sorry, I need to get a glass of water.

She walked off stage very shakily, assisted by Michael Countryman IIRC. Then a few moments later, she returned to the stage with a small cup of water, and the scene began exactly where it had broken off as if nothing had happened. The rest of the performance continued without a hitch. 

The way in which she went from looking like someone who needed a hospital to seamlessly integrating back into the scene is one of the most remarkable live theater experiences I've ever had.

Dollypop
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#23
Posted: 1/23/17 at 1:17pm

Sadly, when Vivien Leigh was in "Tovarich" she was experiencing emotional problems and didn't trust leading man Jean Pierre Aumont, calling him "That Frenchman" on stage.

Also, Dora Bryan was in her dotage when she did London's "Full Monty" and would come on stage eating fast foof. She actually told one of the actors (a respected Broadway regular) that he was inept and didn't belong on stage. This was in front of a full audience.

"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Updated On: 1/24/17 at 01:17 PM
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sueb1863
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#24
Posted: 1/24/17 at 8:32pm

I had a book called "Great Theatrical Disasters" that told the story of an actress who finished performing, went back to her dressing room, changed, went to dinner, and went home. As she walked in her roommate looked at her, shocked, and said, "What's happened? Why aren't you at your play?" It was then that the actress realized that she had left the stage at the end of the first act and then left thinking the play was finished.

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Jane2
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Actors Freaking Out on Stage#25
Posted: 1/24/17 at 9:03pm

"Ally Sheedy in Hedwig
http://nypost.com/1999/12/17/weird-ally-quits-hedwig/"

Um, Sheedy didn't quit. She was fired.

Kevin Cahoon didn't take over. It was Matt McGrath.

<-----I'M TOTES ROLLING MY EYES