Patti LuPone, left, and Michael Urie perform in the play “Shows for Days.” LuPone says she’s considering quitting stage work because of the electronic onslaught.
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As Broadway faces off against pocket-sized sound-and-light shows, performers and some patrons say smartphones and a hyperconnected culture are shredding the immersive experience of live theater.Other stars, from Matthew Broderick to Frances McDormand, have briefly stopped shows in response to spectators talking on phones and shooting video.Theaters routinely advise patrons of prohibitions on taking photos or videos and try various tactics to urge them to silence phones.Still, accounts of boorishness on Broadway abound: Patrons taking calls during shows and squabbling with seatmates who tell them to put phones away. Of course, inconsideration isn't new, or particular to theaters.While barring cellphones during performances, theaters also exhort patrons to tweet and post about shows.Meanwhile, Broadway shows attracted a record 13.1 million patrons last season, up 7.3 percent from the previous season. Some theater experts feel it's time to lighten up about phones or risk seeming stuffy.
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