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‘SLC, you’re killing me:’ ‘Hamilton’ actor blasts audience for cellphone use

(Scott G Winterton, KSL, File)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Aaron Burr was Alexander Hamilton’s main rival in life and in the Broadway story, but the actor portraying Hamilton in the theatrical version currently playing in Salt Lake City has a bone to pick with Utah audience members on their phones during the show.

Joseph Morales, currently playing the “Hamilton” title character while on tour at Eccles Theater, tweeted his frustrations during the intermission of a matinee Sunday.

“SLC, you’re killing me. Put your phones away,” Morales tweeted. “We can see you. This isn’t a movie. What is up with you guys?”

The original tweet garnered support from the majority calling out the cellphone use, but also in defense from others who pointed out the Utah Jazz were playing a playoff game at the same time as the Sunday afternoon show.

"Jazz in the NBA with it. You're not the biggest show in town," Tim Ormond, of South Jordan, responded.

Ormond said his response was a joke he sent from his home while watching the Jazz play the Houston Rockets in the second round of the playoffs. In fact, he didn't know the tweet was sent by an actor of the show.

And from there, it turned into an online battle between theater patrons and others about theater etiquette, and about the Jazz.

“ all means, go to the game or stay home,” Morales replied to Ormond's remark. “This is what we’re dealing with in SLC, folks. So rude it’s shocking.”

To Morales’ point, a message before the show instructs people to turn off their phones and reminds that recording the show is prohibited. Turning off cellphones for a show is also thought as a common courtesy for performers and for the other audience members.

Turning off a cellphone is the first tip New York Show Tickets suggests in a post about theater etiquette.

“Somehow the most obvious rule of good Broadway theatre etiquette is still the most often disregarded. Turn it off, people. Turn. It. Off. And, no, putting your cellphone on vibrate isn't good enough — the people next to you can hear that weird buzzing sound, too,” the post says.

“As soon as you sit down, turn off your cellphone and put it away,” added Etiquette School of New York founder Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, in a 16-tip post of theater show etiquette.

While Ormond said he understands that, he added some have gone overboard in reacting to his tweet. He said since the brouhaha some "Hamilton" enthusiasts have left fake negative reviews about the translating business he owns.

"It's been interesting to me," he said. "I've been trying to determine, what's worse? Cellphone etiquette at a musical or cyberbullying?"

Luckily, it doesn't appear the online battle will turn into an all-out duel.

Ormond, when he noticed it was still an online issue Monday morning, said he sent Morales a personal message to apologize for his tweet and any mess it may have created. Ormond said he hopes Morales will read it and understand it wasn't an attack on him or the show.

Morales, who had previously tweeted positively about the city since the show opened at Eccles Theater April 11 and even posted a photo of himself and other cast members with Mitt Romney at a Jazz playoff game last week, went back online to explain there's enough room in the city for Hamilton and the Jazz.

The Utah Jazz even tweeted its support of that, with a reminder for audience members to check the score after a show if the two overlap.

The show wraps up in Salt Lake Sunday, May 6.


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