Tony Award-winning actress Patti LuPone berated an audience member who was not wearing their mask properly during a Question and Answer talkback session.
Who do you think you are?" yelled the legendary diva, who stars in the gender-flipped revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company.
The video in which LuPone–who is not shy about stopping shows mid-performance to call out disrespectful audience members–went viral.
Patti LuPone putting an anti-masker in their place at a talkback after the show. Just follow the fucking rules and keep the performers safepic.twitter.com/XWnkDxyoGo— Addison Clover (@Addison Clover) 1652238676
LuPone, who announced she tested positive for COVID-19 back in February, stars as Joanne in the show.
She addressed the audience member and instructed her to "Put your mask over your nose."
“That’s why you’re in the theatre. That is the rule. If you don’t wanna follow the rule, get the f'k out!"
"Who do you think you are if you do not respect the people that are sitting around you?”
I feel Ms. Lupone's frustration and anger. After 2 years, it disgusts me that people still think they can disregard rules meant to prevent people from becoming ill and dying. If a business says wear a mask, either wear the mask or don't patronize that business. It's that simple.— Bear Kosik \ud83c\udfd4\ufe0f2\ufe0f\u20e3 1\ufe0f\u20e3 (@Bear Kosik \ud83c\udfd4\ufe0f2\ufe0f\u20e3 1\ufe0f\u20e3) 1652280193
While many theaters eased off on vaccine mandates for audiences, the still-active mask-wearing policy is the only line of protection for the actors on stage who are doing their due diligence to maintain a safe environment.
Since COVID-19 resulted in shows being halted or shut down permanently, Broadway has required all cast and crew to be fully vaccinated.
Many shows are conducting minimum weekly PCR tests, while others are testing daily.
The live performance industry was completely shut down in March 2020, leaving millions of artists, producers, etc totally out of work for over a year, which also affected tourism and hospitality. It took massive care and effort to bring Broadway back. #wearyourdamnmask— Emily Sahler (@Emily Sahler) 1652293307
As stipulated on Company's website:
“All guests must wear a properly fitting mask over the nose and mouth in the theatre except when eating or drinking in designated areas."
"Guests who do not comply with these policies will be denied entry or asked to leave the theatre.”
Another video from a different angle of the incident captured the audacious patron telling LuPone, “I pay your salary,” suggesting that a portion of the ticket price goes directly into the pockets of the actors.
Imagine the level of derangement in your life to think it\u2019s OK to shout \u201cI pay your salary!\u201d to Patti LuPone!— Chris Geidner (@Chris Geidner) 1652242483
The "I pay your salary" is particularly hilarious. \n1) Patti LuPone never needs to work another day in her life. She's a fucking legend who works because she wants to. \n2) No, your one ticket does not pay a Broadway star's salary. Your one ticket doesn't even pay her cab fare.— Steve Hofstetter (@Steve Hofstetter) 1652286625
Amid jeers, LuPone quickly set the record straight and responded:
“You pay my salary? Bullsh*t. [Company producer] Chris Harper pays my salary."
"Who do you think you are? Just put your mask over your nose.”
She thought she was real slick saying I pay your salary. Some people shouldn\u2019t go to the theater— Ashleigh Myers (@Ashleigh Myers) 1652291105
One Twitter user who said they attended the performance of Company that night witnessed two patrons not properly wearing their masks being escorted from the theater and LuPone walking offstage following the incident.
patti just called out two people who weren\u2019t wearing their masks during this Company talkback. she asked nicely, they were horribly fucking rude to her (imagine saying \u201cwe pay your salary\u201d to patti fucking lupone), they got kicked out and she walked offstage— sarah jae (@sarah jae) 1652238340
People on social media totally backed the legendary diva.
Patti was totally right. As always. I couldn't believe it. Ruined the moment for everyone present. The nerve of those people. Appalling. @PattiLuPone— Heather Curtis (@Heather Curtis) 1652239239
BRAVO! @PattiLuPone had breakthrough Covid in Feb and you CAN get it TWICE like @StephenAtHome just did -- and if you don't care about the performers, at least have some damn respect for fellow audience members who may be immunocompromised, elderly, etc.https://twitter.com/PattiLuPone/status/1497934256617705476?s=20&t=Yebka-oE76Tmtz2603-4SA\u00a0\u2026— Social\u273dFly (@Social\u273dFly) 1652302047
So thankful for those who stand up for our right to be protected. Her anger in that moment was a voice for so many of us forced to cancel our lives so others can express their freedom to not protect others with a simple mask in public.— Brett Glazer (@Brett Glazer) 1652300067
The rule to wear a mask at performances is stated up front. She knew before entering the theater. If you don\u2019t like that rule, then don\u2019t go. That\u2019s your choice, but don\u2019t be rude and belligerent because you get called out. @PattiLuPone rocks!!!— Karen Boyer (@Karen Boyer) 1652285257
i was gonna go to bed but then i learned patti lupone cussed out an audience member for not wearing a mask correctly and suddenly i have enough energy to lead an army into battle for her— milanovich \ud83e\udee4 (@milanovich \ud83e\udee4) 1652240321
And for users attempting to argue that LuPone and her fellow castmates should also be masked up got schooled.
They are the actors / artists / singers that just finished performing a show. Of course they aren\u2019t wearing a mask while performing for the audience. But, they are risking their livelihood to perform for you and me\u2026and if they get COVID, the show shuts down too.— TheGuyInNY - BruceL (@TheGuyInNY - BruceL) 1652289256
They are tested daily....Are the patrons? That should clear up your confusion— Dred\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8Sanford (@Dred\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8Sanford) 1652286317
Because they are tested immediately before going on stage and remain unmasked while on stage. They put masks on the moment they step backstage, and Ms LuPone offered to put a mask on if the audience wanted her to— Drayton Alexander (@Drayton Alexander) 1652301166
In March 2020, Company was forced to halt performances after nine previews due to the coronavirus pandemic and resumed previews on November 15, 2021.
The revival of the concept musical has received nine Tony Award nominations–including one for best performance by an actress in a featured role for LuPone.