Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps

MollyJeanneMusic
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#1
Posted: 12/1/19 at 9:43pm

Any technical mishaps in shows that you've seen that have changed/added something to the show for you?  For example, I saw Oklahoma this past Friday and (spoiler alert)...

 
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When Curly shot Jud at the end of the show, the blood didn't splatter all over Curly and Laurey.  My uncle, who was seeing the show with me and had seen the show in the past, wondered if they had changed the staging, but we asked Patrick Vaill at the stage door and he said it was a technical malfunction.  I can't help but wonder now (being my first time seeing the show) if the lack of that element made me any more/less sympathetic towards Curly and/or Jud in that last scene.  From Damon Daunno's performance, I personally saw Curly as instantly regretful and devastated at what he'd done, but maybe if the blood had been splattered across him, I wouldn't have felt for him as much.

So stuff like that.

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
magictodo123
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#2
Posted: 12/2/19 at 8:47am

I saw the first preview of the most recent...revival? of tick, tick...Boom! on Theatre Row a few years ago. Midway through...the first act? they started having sound issues. They tried to keep going, but eventually they had to hold the show for HALF AN HOUR. I think they gave us discounted drinks to make up for that time. First time something like that ever happened to me at a show.

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LizzieCurry
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#3
Posted: 12/2/19 at 10:25am
The one time I saw Be More Chill, the parents' bed in the bedroom scene didn't come out. Everyone kinda managed to do the first minute or so, but cracked up and then there was a hold while we heard some clanging in the wings. They started the scene from the beginning. It was the most interesting part of the night.
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#4
Posted: 12/2/19 at 10:42am

I saw a performance of Wicked once in which Glinda's wig got stuck on the base of the bubble and it started pulling her across the stage when it began to ascend. It stopped and a member of the company pulled her loose and they went on with the scene.

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#5
Posted: 12/2/19 at 11:04am

At the tick, tick... boom! at City Center a few years ago, Lin's head mic died so they gave him a handheld but several minutes later, they decided to just fix his head mic as he needed to play the piano but since his character didn't leave the stage Leslie and Karen just ad-libbed a bunch of things as they fixed Lin's mic upstage. Then Lin's first line back was "Rehearsal goes well. I think we'll be ready for the performance Thursday." It was a riot as that evening was a Wednesday.

Fosse76
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#6
Posted: 12/2/19 at 12:30pm

I've experienced quite a few:

1. During a performance of the late 90's tour of Annie (starring Nell Carter), the actress playing Anni managed to pull the wig off her head, and futilely tried to put it back on.

2. During a Broadway performance of The Phantom of the Opera, Carlotta missed her entrance during the "Notes" sequence in Act 1. The actors continued as if she were there, but it was bizarre since there was silence during her parts. She appeared just before Prima Donna.

3. During a Broadway performance of Matilda, the "bathroom" scenery rose too soon, and was crushed by the bed which was directly above it. The show was stopped for about ten minutes while it was repaired.

4. Also during Matilda, the desks failed to rise from the stage, so the kids had to sit on the stage floor.

5. During a Broadway performance of the Miss Saigon revival, the helicopter effect malfunctioned, causing a 5-10 minute delay.

6. During a performance of Come from Away on Broadway, the turntable suddenly "twitched." The performance continued, until later when it suddenly jolted, halting the performance for about five minutes.

7. During a performance of King Kong, the puppet apparently malfunctioned right before it's first "entrance." The show was stopped for about 20 minutes. 

8. During a performance of American Psycho, the blood cannon went off prematurely, spraying blood across the blood curtain about 10 seconds before Patrick kills his first victim. 

goodlead
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#7
Posted: 12/2/19 at 1:23pm
During a performance of "Sarava" many years ago, the actor PJ Benjamin split his pants during a dance number and had to run off stage for a repair.
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starcatchers
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#8
Posted: 12/2/19 at 1:40pm

sorano916 said: "At the tick, tick... boom! at City Center a few years ago, Lin's head mic died so they gave him a handheld but several minutes later, they decided to just fix his head mic as he needed to play the piano but since his character didn't leave the stage Leslie and Karen just ad-libbed a bunch of things as they fixed Lin's mic upstage. Then Lin's first line back was "Rehearsal goes well. I think we'll be ready for the performance Thursday." It was a riot as that evening was a Wednesday."

I had almost forgotten about this, and now I’m cracking up again. I believe this was the first performance. I was front row. 

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#9
Posted: 12/2/19 at 1:41pm

Went to see Book of Mormon a couple months ago, full cast was in. Dave Thomas Brown, as Elder Price, was in great voice and finished "You and Me (But Mostly Me)". He then walked offstage, an announcement was made, and his standby Bud Weber came right on to finish the show.

Updated On: 12/2/19 at 01:41 PM
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#10
Posted: 12/2/19 at 1:58pm

First preview performance of recent HELLO, DOLLY! revival.

When Irene Malloy’s hat shop is rotating into place, a few items fell off one of the store counters. When Kate Baldwin had her first scenes at that area of the set, she casually placed everything in its place on the counter.

During the “Dancing” number inside the hat shop, Taylor Trensch left the stage suddenly. Months later he revealed in an interview he had food poisoning the first day of previews and ran offstage to throw up in the middle of the number.

Midler forgot her lines during the court room scene and repeated a few words a few times. Looked like she was trying to get her brain back on track by those words.

Midler dropped her baton and it fell into the first row orchestra right during “So Long, Dearie.” Audience member handed it back to her.

schubox
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#11
Posted: 12/2/19 at 1:59pm
The sound went out in the middle of The Abduction during The Great Comet. They tried to keep going but eventually everyone cleared the stage. The audience started singing Balaga’s song and clapping.

They finally got it working again and they took their places and Lucas Steele turned to the audience and said “does everyone remember where we were?”

Handled it great. They had to cut the bows short too for time. There were IG stories from the cast filming the audience as they sang
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#12
Posted: 12/2/19 at 2:22pm

Back in 1993, I was at an early matinee preview of the first part of Angels in America, Millennium Approaches, at the Walter Kerr, well before it became a well-deserved phenomenon. I was in mid mid-20s, but most of the audience was comprised of older folks from theater clubs, presumably bused in from the 'burbs.  Needless to say, there were a lot of walkouts!

Even though I was sitting way in the back, I thought the performance was spectacular, and don't remember any technical issues until the very end, but boy oh boy it was a doozy.  Picture Prior Walter cowering in bed, lights flickering, set rumbling, debris ceiling debris falling, and descending down from on high -- no one.  Nothing.  Until finally, after what seemed like forever but was probably only 10 seconds or so, a panicked voice comes shouting over a walkie-talkie, clearly audible, at least to those of us sitting near the technical booth/sound board at the back:  "Cue the angel!"   After which the Angel does descend to declaim one of the most famous ending lines in 20th century theater:  "Greetings Prophet; The Great Work begins: The Messenger has arrived!" 

It certainly didn't ruin the play for me, and I was back there in the fall to see both parts together when "Perestroika" opened.  But it's hard to imagine a bigger mishap at a worse time.  Then again, that's what previews are for!

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#13
Posted: 12/2/19 at 6:29pm

During a matinee of 'The Pirates of Penzance' in 1982, the Major General's daughters came skipping out in song when one of them took a tumble and 2 more went down with her.  It was obviously a mistake but they played it up for laughs and had fun with it.

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#14
Posted: 12/2/19 at 6:41pm

During the previews of Bart Sher's My Fair Lady Higgins' study got stuck and refused to move downstage. We waited for about 30 minutes before they physically pushed the set in place.

Also during previews, Lauren Ambrose went up in lines completely in the Ascot Gavotte scene. She screamed "help!" and Diana Rigg tried to give her some cues before she gave up. We now know that she was going through a rough time both physically and personally during the previews.

The other night I saw her she was completely on point. It must have just been a momentary lapse. 

I was also at a Great Comet where Amber Gray's mike pack didn't work. She was busy floating through the audience and had to run back to the stage to swap out a mike.

 

mpkie
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#15
Posted: 12/2/19 at 9:04pm

Not all technical in nature but:

1) Last Thursday at The Lightning Thief, while Percy was getting yelled at, the chair Chris McCarrell (Percy) was sitting on randomly broke. He had half-fallen but suspended himself up by one hand, while the other two on-stage actors amazingly carried the scene without breaking. Chris did break a little though. Unfortunately the chair breaking (literally) and Chris breaking (figuratively) were the funniest things that happened in the show... 

2) My favorite unscripted thing -- During Tootsie, "Jeff" accidentally flung a stiletto into the audience and hit someone. They tossed it back and "Jeff" blew him/her a kiss. The audience was in an uproar. Santino (Michael) came in from the 'other room' saying, "What the f*** is happening?" Much later on, Santino thought he dropped something (he didn't) and in character as Dorothy said "Oops, I thought I dropped something".

3) An unenjoyable mishap was during West End Les Miserables. The mics went out and twice they stopped the show -- once for Fantine and once for Valjean. Fantine was barely audible through the entire "At the End of the Day" number and proceeded into “I Dreamed a Dream” with no mic volume. In the middle of these emotional songs, they went silent and just walked off and the lights came on. Took me straight out of it. After that I constantly worried whenever characters' voices started to fade.

4) During Come From Away, someone had a seizure and passed out. They stopped the show but after a few minutes the person was able to walk off when medical assistance arrived. We were all really impressed the actors came back into the scene as if they had never stopped and were glad the audience member seemed okay.

5) In Jersey Boys the automated mechanisms that moved furniture and set pieces into place stopped working. All the actors had to move set pieces manually, including the mic stands and all that. Took some of the stage magic away.

[2019] American Son, Head Over Heels, Pretty Woman, The Jungle, Call Me Madam, Choir Boy, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate, To Kill A Mockingbird, Come From Away, Network, All My Sons, Be More Chill, Ink, Oklahoma, Beetlejuice, What the Constitution Means To Me, A Sea Wall/A Life, Rock Of Ages, Tootsie, Bat Out Of Hell, Hadestown, Betrayal, Harry Potter, Moulin Rouge, Little Shop of Horrors, Freestyle Love Supreme, Only Human, Slave Play, Kristin Chenoweth, Derren Brown, Lightning Thief, Sing Street
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#16
Posted: 12/2/19 at 9:10pm

Fosse76 said: "

8. During a performance of American Psycho, the blood cannon went off prematurely, spraying blood across the blood curtain about 10 seconds before Patrick kills his first victim."

 

Ha! That's funny. Reminds me of another technical mishap I read about -- audience member actually getting splattered with the fake blood.

[2019] American Son, Head Over Heels, Pretty Woman, The Jungle, Call Me Madam, Choir Boy, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate, To Kill A Mockingbird, Come From Away, Network, All My Sons, Be More Chill, Ink, Oklahoma, Beetlejuice, What the Constitution Means To Me, A Sea Wall/A Life, Rock Of Ages, Tootsie, Bat Out Of Hell, Hadestown, Betrayal, Harry Potter, Moulin Rouge, Little Shop of Horrors, Freestyle Love Supreme, Only Human, Slave Play, Kristin Chenoweth, Derren Brown, Lightning Thief, Sing Street
The Ferryman Himself
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#17
Posted: 12/3/19 at 12:20am

When I saw The Testament of Mary, Fiona Shaw cut herself on the barbed wire. You could tell it was bleeding, but it didn't stop her. 

What time is it?
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#18
Posted: 12/3/19 at 12:51am

wicked sf sit down-eden espinosa was struggling with allergies during first few songs, went off stage on way to oz and standby felicia ricci came back on as elphie as entering oz with no announcement. felicia did great, but mispositioned the broom during the elevator lift in gravity and it snapped in two...

Felicia as an  excellent elphaba and sorry to see her not stay in musicals, she did some amazing youtube videos and a great online vocal training program....

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#19
Posted: 12/3/19 at 7:44pm

Two stand out for me:

* Quite a few years ago I was visiting Family in MO and we saw a local production of Hairspray. When Tracy's in "jail" and Link's trying to break her out, the cell door kept swinging open (latch had broken). They're singing about how he can't get to her or whatever, and every time they let go of the door, it just swung downstage and they'd have to pull it back in place while still saying lines like 'get me out of here!'. It really made the show memorable!

 

*I saw Tootsie a couple months ago and there's a scene with someone knocking to come into the apartment (the agent, maybe?), but the Dorothy paraphernalia is strewn about. Michael (Santino) and Jeff are trying to get everything put away, and Michael's supposed to get a dress or jacket put on a hanger in the closet. He tries to shut the closet door and it just keeps bouncing back open. After trying like 5 times (meanwhile homeboy's still off-stage behind the door waiting for his cue), Santino shouts "Just a minute! There's something wrong with the ****ing door!". Perfect because it's both in-character, and works as a this-is-what-we're-dealing-with announcement. Eventually he just grabs it out of the closet and says "let's try this again", and he takes the clothing OFF the hanger, then puts it back ON the hanger, and broadcasts the fact that he places it back in the same spot in the closet... and it stays shut! Everyone cheers, he jumps on the couch, door opens, and Santino just gives a look that says 'that's live theater, eh?'. That show was good, not great, but he handled everything well and it definitely made me think well of him and his sticking in the moment that way.

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#20
Posted: 12/3/19 at 8:02pm

broadwaysfguy said: "wicked sf sit down-eden espinosa was struggling with allergies during first few songs, went off stage on way to oz and standby felicia ricci came back on as elphie as entering oz with no announcement. felicia did great, but mispositionedthe broom during the elevator lift in gravity and it snapped in two...

Felicia as an excellentelphaba and sorry to see her not stay in musicals, she did some amazing youtube videos and a great online vocal training program....
"

According to Felicia’s book that was the first time she went on as Elphaba and was in the audience watching the show with Libby Servais. It was the first performance after she had been signed off for the role 

 

"Charlotte, we're Jewish"
Mediamaven2
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#21
Posted: 12/7/19 at 4:45pm

LizzieCurry said: "The one time I saw Be More Chill, the parents' bed in the bedroom scene didn't come out. Everyone kinda managed to do the first minute or so, but cracked up and then there was a hold while we heard some clanging in the wings. They started the scene from the beginning. It was the most interesting part of the night."

We must have been at the same show - or else this happened more than once!!! I saw it in early July.

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#22
Posted: 12/7/19 at 6:51pm

At a matinee early in the Rosie revival of "Grease" run as act 2 was about to start, Rosie came out from the curtain clearly upset and announced that Marcia Lewis had fallen in a trap door and there would be a delay. After maybe fifteen minutes Rosie returned to announced Marcia would continue and she did for the rest of the show. Weeks later at the cast signing I asked her if she was alright and she said it was scary and was still going to the Chiropractor.You would have never know she was in pain during her time on that stage that afternoon.

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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#23
Posted: 12/9/19 at 2:33am
During Harry Potter after the kids take the polyjuice potion to break into the ministry. Adult Harry started to leave the stage but suddenly stopped. He looked down, yanked at his robe then just scurried off leaving the robe on the floor. A small trapdoor opened up and a stagehand dressed all in black ran on the stage and grabbed it. It happened really fast but it was interesting because they do such a good job of hiding all the little secrets embedded in that stage.
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#24
Posted: 12/9/19 at 4:41am
When I saw Hello, Dolly! with Bette and David Hyde Pierce, there was a microphone mishap in Act 2 after the dumpling scene. When either Bette or David tried to speak, as I recall all we got was a thumping sound. I did hear David make an unmiked comical comment blaming the sound on Bette/Dolly, something like “I warned you about eating so many dumplings,” Rather then being upset that I didn’t get a “perfect” performance, I just considered test I got a performance that only I snd rest in attendance test night got. The stage manager (I’m assuming) had them leave the stage and momentarily they returned and started the scene again.
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Interesting Mid-Show Mishaps#25
Posted: 12/9/19 at 5:20pm

Early in its run, Billy Elliot was stopped due to a set malfunction. One performance had 5 stoppages that they told the audience they could attend another performance for free.