As cellphones become more and more of a problem during live events, the Broadway show Freestyle Love Supreme is stepping up and taking action to end phone usage through the service Yondr.
Yondr locks fans’ cellphones in a pouch during an event where they can only access the phone if they exit the live show and unlock it in the venue’s lobby. The service has been quite popular among performers; Bruno Mars, Dave Chappelle, and Kevin Hart have dabbled with the service, while Jack White became the first artist to use Yondr during his entire Boarding House Reach Tour. Now, Freestyle Love Supreme is giving it a shot on Broadway.
During the 80-minute performance, theatergoers’ phones will be locked in the Yondr pouch which will be opened after the show. Already, Chappelle tried the service during his 10-show run in July on Broadway. Cast member Chris Sullivan told the Daily News that the service “frees us up as performers to know that we’re not being captured in an unfavorable light or out of context” during the sometimes-raucous impromptu show at the Booth Theatre.
Testing the no-phone policy across Broadway may be necessary, as actors say “no phone usage” signs aren’t good enough anymore. Last December, Jarrod Spector made headlines after tweeting at rapper Kanye West to stop texting during the opening night of The Cher Show, noting “if you look up from your cell phone you’ll see we’re doing a show up here.” He told the New York Daily News that he sent out the tweet after he saw that fellow cast members were upset by his phone usage.
“You can watch TV at home and be on your phone,” Spector told the Daily News. “But if you’re going to share the molecules with your fellow audience members and the people who are on stage, I feel like the least you can do is put your cellphone away.”
Freestyle Love Supreme is running for just two more weeks on Broadway before closing on January 12.