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Kanye West called out for handphone use during The Cher Show

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Kanye West is not the first celebrity to run afoul of theatre performers. In perhaps the most famous instance, Madonna was apparently using her phone during an off-Broadway performance of Hamilton, prompting the star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to refuse to allow her backstage.

New York

IT'S A FAMILIAR story: Someone goes to a Broadway musical, ignores the audience rules of conduct and pulls out a phone.

But on Monday night, that someone was Kanye West, the musical was The Cher Show, and it was the glittery and bespangled opening night.

The performance had been underway for about an hour when the actor playing Sonny Bono, Jarrod Spector, took to Twitter to call out West's behaviour.

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West, one of the nation's most visible rappers, was there with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who has repeatedly declared herself a major Cher fan. Cher herself was there as well.

West's representative acknowledged the phone use, saying: "Kanye was on his phone taking notes. He loved the show and was incredibly impressed by the production." And West then apologised.

The incident is the latest in a long line of cellphone distractions at Broadway shows, and reflects an increasing willingness by performers to call out what they see as misbehaviour in the audience.

Just last week, at a preview of The Cher Show, Stephanie J Block, one of three actresses playing the title character, asked a patron to stop video-recording her performance while she was mid-song (she turned off her microphone between lyrics so her request could not be widely heard).

And Mike Birbiglia, the comedian now performing a solo show on Broadway, has repeatedly been interrupting his show to engage with people whose phones ring or who appear to be texting or taping during his performance.

West is not the first celebrity to run afoul of theatre performers. In perhaps the most famous instance, Madonna was apparently using her phone during an off-Broadway performance of Hamilton, prompting the star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to refuse to allow her backstage. (#noselfieforyou, he said on Twitter, although he did not name the celebrity and later took down the tweet.) West was also not the only person using a phone during the opening-night performance Monday. During the second act, at least two patrons' cellphones went off. NYTIMES