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Hadestown Apologizes Over Closed Captioning Incident


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Broadway’s Hadestown issued an apology after an audience member was reprimanded by an actor who mistakenly thought their captioning device was being used for recording.

In an emotional video posted to social media, audience member Samantha Coleman said she was called out “not once, but twice, for recording the performance” by Lillias White, who plays Hermes in the production. “She thought my captioning device was a recording device,” Samantha explained.

“I don’t this is inherently her malice, I think it’s a misunderstanding,” she continued. “My hearing is such that I need a captioning device in order to see a show. And to be ostracized and publicly ridiculed really hurts. It was super embarrassing.”

Her account of viewing the show further went viral on Twitter:

Today, an actor yelled at me multiple times mid-show for recording a Broadway show, even when I wasn’t.
I was using a captioning device.
My worst nightmare realized.


Twitter: @SamanthColeman

Where it sparked a discussion about whether checking the audience for recording devices should be left to the ushers, rather than the cast — especially given Broadway legend’s Patti Lupone’s penchant for yelling at audience members:

@SamanthColeman As a former Broadway usher, I am horrified by this. That is not the actors job, the same way an usher would not just walk on stage and start dancing. As Front of House staff, we are trained how to discreetly handle potential disturbances, and spot accessibility accommodations.


Twitter: @mikequitscomedy

@lalalivy28 @SamanthColeman There’s no training that will allow actors on stage to spot and discern this.

The only training you can give is to make clear to actors it is not their responsibility to police the crowd for recording devices.


Twitter: @chrisoconnoriv

@SamanthColeman Unpopular opinion: I love Patti but leave the policing to front of house. All you’re doing when you stop the show to be sanctimonious is disrupting the entire audience rather than those who are bothered by a device an usher could take care of or worse a situation like this


Twitter: @tiny_titian

Hadestown subsequently issued an apology:

@SamanthColeman Thanks for connecting with us, Samantha. We’re grateful for you bringing this to our attention and we are working with @Jujamcyn to review our policies and internal protocols to ensure this doesn’t happen again. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.


Twitter: @hadestown

@SamanthColeman @Jujamcyn We appreciate everybody’s feedback. For full disclosure, we had connected privately with Samantha to sincerely apologize and remedy the situation, as we felt that was a better forum to handle the matter meaningfully.


Twitter: @hadestown

“Providing access is also about educating everyone in the theater about how we can be more supportive,” a spokesperson for Hadestown added in a statement. “We are reviewing our policies and internal protocols to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Samantha later followed up with a call to “stop harassing” Lillias for the incident:

Good afternoon!
It’s important for me to articuslte – I ask to extend kindness and forgiveness to Ms. White. Her social media pages, particularly Instagram, have been flooded with ageist & racist comments. Please stop harassing her. (1/2)


Twitter: @SamanthColeman

The theater that Hadestown is in provides I-Caption devices, which are basically small, handheld screens that show, lyrics, dialogue, and sound effects. Some shows also provide captioning via an app — unfortunately, this does run the risk of even more people mistaking the phone usage for illegal recording.

Here’s hoping this doesn’t happen again!





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