Broadway actress Patti LuPone says she’s stepping away from the stage


Actress and singer Patti LuPone said on Monday that she had given up her membership in the Actors’ Equity union, signaling a step away from her celebrated, decades-long Broadway career.

“Quite a week on Broadway, seeing my name being bandied about,” LuPone, a three-time Tony Award winner, tweeted. “Gave up my Equity card; no longer part of that circus. Figure it out. “

The tweet followed a week of high drama in the Broadway world that began when Lillias White, a “Hadestown” cast member, called out an audience member on Wednesday over her use of a captioning device, which White mistook for a cellphone. White drew intense criticism for the mistake, and the incident prompted comparisons to LuPone’s history of confronting audience members about their cellphone use during live shows.

Yet in a statement shared with The Washington Post, LuPone, 73, said she had dropped her union membership following her most recent production this summer – long before last week’s “Hadestown” incident.

“When the run of ‘Company’ ended this past July, I knew I wouldn’t be onstage for a very long time,” the performer said. “And at that point I made the decision to resign from Equity.”

LuPone also criticized the union for Broadway performers, telling People that she “didn’t want to give them any more money,” adding that the Actors’ Equity Association doesn’t “support actors at all.”

She told People that the union accepted her resignation, and she would have to be approved to rejoin. The Actors’ Equity Association, which represents tens of thousands of actors and stage managers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.

This is not the first time LuPone has talked about leaving Broadway. In 2015, after making headlines for snatching an audience member’s cellphone out of their hands during a performance of “Shows for Days,” LuPone told The Post: “I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. “

LuPone had accused that audience member of texting during her performance, and was praised for her actions. Similarly, a crowd applauded her for stopping mid-song during a 2009 “Gypsy” performance to yell at someone who was taking pictures during the show.

The use of electronic devices during theater productions has been an increasingly common complaint among performers. But last week, White, who is Black, received a far different response when accusing an audience member of using a phone during her show. And while the circumstances of White’s engagement di lei with the audience member were different from LuPone’s 2015 and 2009 confrontations, observers said the contrast in treatment represented a double standard.

While LuPone was applauded for her actions, White faced a wave of backlash – some of it so vicious that the audience member whom White called out pleaded with people on social media to “stop harassing” the actress.

“Hadestown” apologized to the theatergoer, but condemned the online response to White, saying in a statement to the New York Times that the reactions on social media had “devolved into racist, ageist and other abhorrently discriminatory language.”

LuPone did not directly comment on the controversy, aside from referencing her name being mentioned over the past week.

The actress has been nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning her first in 1980 for her work in “Evita.” She won her third Tony this year for her work of lei in “Company.”

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