Dame Arlene Phillips has responded to Alison Hammond to say ‘you have no idea’ after This Morning presenter apologized for her comments about The Bodyguard musical in Manchester which had to be shut down due to disruption Friday night. Alison, 48, said she was ‘really sorry’ for ‘shed light’ on audiences singing musicals during a segment of the show on Wednesday.
Alison apologized on Twitter and vowed to ‘do better in the future’ after the popular presenter and fellow presenters Dermot O’Leary and Vanessa Feltz discussed whether members of the public should be allowed to sing while professional actors perform on stage. There was a backlash to their discussion as Alison said, “I mean, I can’t believe it. I’d be devastated I’m not even going to go to that show now.”
Vanessa said: “Isn’t that the point of going to a musical, you know, you sing all the tunes you know and when you don’t know the words you make them up? Isn’t it isn’t that what everyone does very very hard while eating ice cream?”
Alison Hammond apologizes for ‘shed light’ on singing ban in theaters after ‘mini riot’ at Bodyguard in Manchester
On Sunday April 9, Alison wrote: ‘After reflection and the comments I made on Wednesday’s show, I would like to apologize to anyone I have offended, especially the incredibly unbelievably talented, for whom I have the greatest respect. I had no idea the level of disruption the public was causing and tried to shed some light on the matter on Wednesday’s show, and for that I am truly sorry.”
She added: “I’m a big believer in theater and the arts and I would never sing out loud in a performance. I was wrong in what I said and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. days. and think I was wrong.”
She continued: “Thursday night I attended a performance of the GBBO musical which I absolutely loved and got a standing ovation, the theater is a magical experience for me and my family.” She concluded: “I want to use my platform for good as always and I want to stand tall with the artists, venue and theater staff, especially after seeing what happened at The Bodyguard in Manchester, which made me sick to my stomach.” She added: “Again, I’m so sorry, but trust me, I’ll do better in the future.”
Dame Arlene, who has directed and choreographed many successful West End and Broadway musicals, responded by saying: “Alison, thank you for your apology, but I would just like to say that you have no idea what this is all about. It’s really for those performers at shows where the songs are popular hits and certain audience members feel empowered to join in.”
The former Strictly Come Dancing judge, from Prestwich, also said: “Performers don’t know what to do. They’re not trained when the audience gets out of control and argues. It’s so distressing. stop and let normalcy return.”
Marisha Wallace, who currently plays Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls on the Westy End, tweeted a video of the audience dancing and singing excitedly at the end of their show. “Speaking of audience control, we do it every night when the show is over and we have a great time. People are respectful so we can all enjoy it. I love that part of the show!” she tweeted.
And Dame Arlene replied: “Indeed they are, but the audience is a big part of our show and on every show we just need to ask them to wait until the end of the show to get the opportunity to participate as with many shows I have worked on and pray that they will listen.”
The bodyguard had to be arrested and police were called to the Oxford Street site when ‘staff reported that a number of people in the audience were causing a disturbance’ and two women were captured on video being dragged out of the upper circle of the theatre. Theatre-goers have taken to social media claiming the show should be shut down early after audience members started “trying to sing over the cast”.
One person said: “I can’t believe what I just saw at the palace theater watching the bodyguard. A mini riot after the show was stopped because members of the public were trying to sing over it the casting.”
The video captured an audience member “shouting” over the song I Will Always Love You, while other “confused and angry” viewers were talking about the music and wondering what was going on. Bosses at the Palace Theater said ‘disruptive patrons refused to remain seated’ and ‘ruined the performance for others’.
@JonnyBowles agreed with Arlene, saying, “Absolutely 100% Arlene. Having been resident director on The Bodyguard, I’ve never seen anything like it. x” @felix_brunger also agreed, “Well said Arlene. It’s not karaoke!” And @buckland_dawn said: “Having played in a few ‘jukebox productions’ this is definitely a conversation that needs to be had. Maybe @thismorning would like to do a track on this ‘for balance’? #dontsingunlessinvited.”
In full, the statement, released on Saturday, said: “The performance of The Bodyguard at the Palace Theatre, Manchester was halted at 9.40pm last night and has not continued. We are disappointed that the last 10 minutes of the show had to be canceled due to disruptive patrons refusing to remain seated and spoiling the performance for others.
“We are grateful to our on-site teams for handling these difficult circumstances in a professional and calm manner, and to Greater Manchester Police for their assistance. Future performances will continue as planned and we ask guests for their consideration. towards the actors, other audience members and the theater team so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful show on stage.”
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