*Some theatergoers at “The Color Purple” on Broadway last week got pissed at a woman who arrived late to her seat, then, had the nerve to whip out her cell phone and snap photos during the performance.
Then, folks realized the woman was Aretha Franklin and opted to bite their tongues, according to a report in Page Six.
According to a witness, the Queen of Soul showed up late to the revival at Jacobs Theatre, took up six seats around her and began holding her phone in the air to snap photos of the show.
“She arrived a few minutes late with four bodyguards. One to sit in front, one behind, and one on either side. The prime orchestra seat in front of her was empty,” entertainment writer Brandon Voss posted to Facebook.
Then, “During the opening number she began taking photos on her phone, lifting it high and proud, much to the murmuring disgust of those around us,” Voss reported. Then an “older white lady” in the audience began “gesturing wildly for her to put down the phone, letting her bodyguard know it wasn’t allowed.”
That’s when an usher arrived, and “It took her an eternity, but she finally shut it down.”
But at intermission, the woman who’d complained “realized it wasn’t a human being but was in fact THE Aretha Franklin, she APOLOGIZED,” Voss posted. “Because it’s Aretha f - - king Franklin, and she can take pictures whenever and wherever she wants.”
But “Then shortly before the second act starts, after being approached by many fans, she accuses me of not being in the right seat and wants to check my ticket,” Voss wrote. “She doesn’t recognize me . . . [m]aybe because I was on time? I didn’t think my mouth could open that wide.”
And “finally, after the show was over, her bodyguards asked our whole row to file out the other side because Aretha was just going to sit and chill.” But Voss figured, “I have no problem with any of this, quite frankly. #RESPECT.”
Page Six reported that after the show, Franklin met Jennifer Hudson and the cast backstage. A rep for the show said: “Aretha attended the show with a party of six . . . I don’t have any knowledge of her taking photos during the show.”