Teen who tried to charge phone on Broadway stage says sorry

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — It's nearly every day that a politician or CEO or government official or celebrity displays contrition for their wrongdoings. On Friday it was the turn of a New York teen who bizarrely clambered onto a Broadway stage to try to recharge his phone in a prop outlet.

Nick Silvestri, of Seaford, New York, held a press conference Friday outside the Booth Theatre, where on July 2 he had to be pulled off the stage by ushers moments before the play "Hand to God" started.

He apologized, blaming ignorance and alcohol. He said it wasn't a stunt, even though his buddy took video of the attempt. Silvestri, nicknamed the Broadway "Juice Jackal," describe it as just bad decision-making.

"Ultimately, before coming to see 'Hand to God,' I downed a few drinks and I think that clearly impaired my judgment," said Silvestri, 19. "Before the show started, I noticed that my phone's battery was low, and the only power outlet I saw was on stage."

The attempt to recharge was, in the end, pointless: The onstage outlet was just a prop, created by Tony Award-winner Beowulf Boritt, whose set is a realistic depiction of a Texas church basement.

"I didn't know the stage is considered off limits," Silvestri said, adding he now felt terrible for the performers. The Nassau Community College student vowed never to get onstage again "unless I decide to be an actor."

The act was at least in keeping with the anarchic nature of the show. Playwright Robert Askins' bracing comedy mixes violence, swearing, brutal honesty, parental failure, church hypocrisy and plenty of sex — of both human and puppet varieties.

Silvestri, who caught the show from the orchestra with family members, did want to impart a lesson from the whole experience: "If I want to give one message to folks out there it's that you should give your complete attention to the actors on stage," he said. "I'm sorry for my actions, and I hope that I can become an example of a great theatergoer in the future."

His theatrical faux pas has been part of a month of bad behavior on Broadway. On Wednesday, the beloved Patti LuPone endured the buzz of hearing aids improperly turned up and several ringing phones during the matinee of "Shows for Days" at Lincoln Center. That evening, she caught someone texting during the play and swiped the phone out of the patron's hand.

"I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore," she said in a statement. "Now I'm putting battle gear on over my costume to marshal the audience as well as perform."


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