Actor Wendell Pierce praised for his handling of a heckler during a Broadway performance
When a heckler disrupted a performance of “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway, actor Wendell Pierce tried to diffuse the situation, earning praise on social media.
A performance of Broadway’s revival of “Death of a Salesman” was disrupted on Tuesday by an unruly and disruptive audience member until she was removed from the theater by police officers.
Actor Wendell Pierce, starring as Willy Loman in the play and known for his performances on the TV shows “The Wire” as Detective Bunk Moreland and “Suits” as Robert Zane, the father of Meghan Markle’s character, is being commended by audience members and fans on social media for “graciously and heroically” trying to diffuse the situation.
What happened during the performance?
The incident took place during the second act of a revival of Arthur Miller’s classic play, “Death of a Salesman,” at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway. Reports on social media have surfaced that the audience member was acting poorly during the first act of the play, before eventually moving to the front of the auditorium and beginning to heckle the actors on stage.
The behavior was so intense that the play had to be suspended and the house lights brought up. While the other cast members were ushered off-stage, Pierce stayed on and attempted to mediate the situation, first trying to get her to stay and then offering to get her tickets refunded, per The Hollywood Reporter.
In a video posted to TikTok, Pierce can be heard saying, “Hold on! Talk to me, talk to me. I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll make a deal with you. I’m going to ask them to let you stay. Hold on, hold on, I’ll make a deal with you. Ma’am, I’ll make a deal with you, alright? You can stay, but we have a show to do.”
Reaction on social media
Pierce’s handling of the situation has earned him praise on social media, with one audience member lauding his patience and ability to get back into character.
The Instagram post reads, “In the middle of his electrifying performance as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN, he was forced to break character when an irate, seemingly inebriated audience member disrupted the play’s second act so intensely that the action had to be suspended. When the house lights came up, he patiently & heroically pleaded with her to leave peacefully despite her insistence that she should be carried out forcefully (she was eventually escorted out by police). After the play resumed, Pierce segued seamlessly back into the role of a lifetime — his first appearance on Broadway in three decades — an acting job all the more remarkable given the real-life drama that could have derailed the entire night.”
The disruptor was eventually removed from the theater by police, according to Vanity Fair.
A statement from the producers of “Death of a Salesman” reads in part, “We’re grateful to the entire team at the Hudson Theatre for working together to resolve the situation and resume the performance as quickly as possible.”