Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican firebrand from Colorado, was ejected from a touring production of the “Beetlejuice” musical in Denver last weekend, making her the latest case study in an evolving debate over how theaters should respond to raucous audience behavior.
Ms. Boebert was accused of “causing a disturbance” at the show, according to an incident report from the city of Denver. The accusation is not an unfamiliar one for Ms. Boebert — last year she heckled President Biden during the State of the Union, and the previous year she refused a search of her bag by Capitol security.
The incident in Denver, which was previously reported by The Denver Post, occurred during a performance of “Beetlejuice,” which, like the film on which it is based, is about a gleefully devious ghost haunting a suburban home. The musical had a rocky run on Broadway, but became a fan favorite, and has been enjoying a strong tour around the country.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which includes the Buell Theater, where “Beetlejuice” is now running, issued a brief statement saying that it has a set of guest policies and that, “We were informed that two patrons were not adhering to the policies which eventually led to them being escorted from the theater.”
The city of Denver, which owns and operates the complex of buildings in which the performing arts center is located, released an incident report that, without naming Ms. Boebert, described some of the details.
The report said that in response to audience complaints, officials had told a pair of patrons that “they were causing a disturbance for the area with noise, singing, using their cellphone, and that they need to be respectful to their neighbors.” Early in the second act, after hearing complaints that the patrons were again being loud and recording the show, the theater enlisted help from the Denver Police and asked the party to leave, the report said. They eventually did. On the way out, according to the incident report, “They say stuff like ‘do you know who I am?’” and “I will be contacting the mayor.”
The Denver Post identified Ms. Boebert as the person involved in the incident. Ms. Boebert’s campaign manager, Drew Sexton, issued a statement confirming the incident, but framing it differently.
“I can confirm the stunning and salacious rumors: in her personal time, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is indeed a supporter of the performing arts (gasp!) and, to the dismay of a select few, enthusiastically enjoyed a weekend performance of ‘Beetlejuice,’ which the Denver Post itself described as ‘zany’, ‘outrageous’, and a ‘lusty riot,’” Sexton said. “She appreciates the Buell Theatre’s strict enforcement of their no photos policy and only wishes the Biden Administration could uphold our border laws as thoroughly and vigorously.”
Ms. Boebert apparently still likes the show, even though she was kicked out.
“It’s true, I did thoroughly enjoy the AMAZING Beetlejuice at the Buell Theatre and I plead guilty to laughing and singing too loud!” she posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Everyone should go see it if you get the chance this week and please let me know how it ends!”
The incident comes at a time when theaters, particularly in England, have been encountering a rash of raucous behavior by overenthusiastic patrons, and have been struggling with whether and how to restrict such behavior. Those concerns also exist on Broadway, but there have been fewer highly publicized confrontations.