A performance of the newest musical adaptation of the 1992 film The Bodyguard was forced to a halt mid-performance after unruly patrons sang along with the live performers.
Variety reported that two female audience members were forcibly ejected from The Palace Theater in Manchester, England after they rudely disrupted the performance more than once on Friday night.
According to tweets from patrons at the theater, the show was stopped during the first act due to the sing-along, and again when the show's star, Pussycat Dolls member Melody Thornton, tried to sing "I Will Always Love You."
With roughly ten minutes left to go until the finale, the women completely ignored the theater's warnings given prior to the show asking audiences not to sing along, and they sang loudly off-pitch as Thornton did her best to keep it together.
The actor's microphone was subsequently cut off and the house lights came on before she could finish the iconic song made famous by Whitney Houston's rendition of the Dolly Parton-penned tune.
Security staff physically removed the resisting patrons from their balcony seats, and the show was canceled for the rest of the evening, much to the dismay of paying ticketholders.
The breaking of theater etiquette that led to the chaos was described by attendees as “fights in the aisles” and even “a mini-riot."
Footage of the ruckus was posted on social media.
Twitter user Karl Bradley filmed and shared clips from the night–including videos of the disruption, patrons cheering the removal of the women, and responding police vehicles parked outside the theater.
"I’m new to the world of theatre," he wrote.
"But sad and disappointed tonight at the state of some peoples arrogance and disrespect while at a show."
"Completely ruined #TheBodyguard, singing over the actors, to the point of them cancelling the show & police being called #Manchester."
Bradley told BBC Manchester Radio that the women "started to project themselves" by singing along and trying to hit the song's high notes and failed.
"That's when the chaos began," he said.
In a follow-up to his tweet, Bradley continued:
"Staff at the theatre done great keeping as much as they could under control & informing the audience of updates."
"Truly disappointing though, especially for the actors!"
"@MelodyThornton smashed it as predicted. However a shame we never got the see it all end @PalaceAndOpera."
Another user posted footage from that night of the uncooperative women being yanked from their seats.
When Thornton arrived home following the canceled performance, she addressed the evening's Manchester audience in a video post prior to removing her show makeup.
“I respect that you paid your money, and I am so grateful to everyone who respects the people on stage who want to give you a beautiful show."
"For everything that happened tonight, I cant say, I don’t have all of the details. I just am very, very sorry that we couldn’t finish the show."
"I fought really hard. It feels awful. I just hope that we see you again. The Bodyguard is a great show."
"It's a wonderful love story and I know people were out to see the beatutiful story and I thank everyone who was respectful of the performers and am very, very sorry for those who weren’t. I hope we see you soon.”
People commented on the increasing cases of rude and disruptive behavior among audiences at live theatrical shows.
When a user asked if involving the police was necessary for the situation, Bradley replied:
"I can’t comment on what fully happened, but it looked like it was the only way to difuse it."
"Someone seemed to be sitting on a the safety barrier, a very thin ledge, they clearly had no respect for the staff and could have gone terribly wrong. Better to be safe than sorry."
The very first production of Bodyguard opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End, on November 6, 2012.
Talk of having a stage version of the movie made famous by its leading lady Whitney Houston was discussed in February 2012, just days following the singer's untimely death.
The show, with a book by Alexander Dinelaris, shares the same premise as the eponymous 1992 film starring Whitney Houston as Rachel Marron, a pop diva who hires a secret service agent–played by Kevin Kostner– after she had been repeatedly harassed by a dangerously obsessive stalker.
This is the third UK and Ireland tour of The Bodyguard that started on January 28, 2023.
Ushers in the Palace Theater had been spotted holding signs asking audience members to refrain from singing along to the stage show's popular songs–including "I'm Every Woman," and "Run To You."
"PLEASE REFRAIN FROM SINGING ALONG. Thank you," read one sign held by an usher as theatergoers entered the venue.
The prohibitive initiative started as previous stops on the tour experienced similar "anti-social behavior" from audiences.
A representative for The Palace told the BBC:
"We ask that customers are considerate towards the cast, fellow audience members, and theater team so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful entertainment on stage."