Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican firebrand from Colorado, was kicked out of a touring production of the musical “Beetlejuice” in Denver last weekend, making her the latest case study in an evolving debate over how movie theaters should respond to the strident behavior of the audience.
Ms. Boebert was charged with “causing a disturbance” at the fair, according to an incident report from the city of Denver. The accusation is not unknown to Ms. Boebert: last year interrupted President Biden during the State of the Union, and the year before refused to search her bag for the security of the Capitol.
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 cheerfully devious ghost who haunts a suburban house. The musical had a rocky run on Broadway, but became a fan favorite and has been enjoying an intense tour across the country.
The Denver Performing Arts Center, which includes the Buell Theater where “Beetlejuice” is now playing, issued a brief statement saying it has a set of guest policies and that “we were informed that two patrons were not complying with policies, which ultimately led to them being removed from the theater.”
The city of Denver, which owns and operates the building complex in which the performing arts center is located, released a report of the incident that, without naming Ms. Boebert, outlined some of the details.
The report said that in response to audience complaints, officials had told a pair of customers that “they were causing a disturbance in the area with noise, singing, using their cell phone and that they should be respectful of their neighbors.” At the beginning of the second act, after hearing complaints that patrons were again making noise and recording the show, the theater requested help from Denver police and asked the party to leave, according to the report. Finally they did it. As they leave, according to the incident report, “they say things like ‘do you know who I am?'” and “I’ll contact the mayor.”
The Denver Post identified Ms. Boebert as the person involved in the incident. Boebert’s campaign manager, Drew Sexton, issued a statement confirming the incident, but framing it differently.
“I can confirm the impressive and salacious rumors: in her personal time, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is certainly an advocate for the performing arts (gasp!) and, to the dismay of a select few, she enthusiastically enjoyed a weekend performance from ‘Beetlejuice’. which the Denver Post itself described as ‘bizarre,’ ‘scandalous,’ and a ‘lustful riot,’” Sexton said. “She appreciates the Buell Theater’s strict enforcement of the no-photograph policy of her and she only wishes the Biden Administration could enforce our border laws as completely and vigorously.”
Ms. Boebert apparently still likes the show, even though she was kicked out.
“It’s true, I thoroughly enjoyed the AMAZING Beetlejuice at the Buell Theater 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 a chance this week and please let me know how it ends!”
The incident comes at a time when cinemas, particularly in England, have faced a spate of raucous behavior from overzealous patrons, and have been struggling to decide whether and how to restrict such behavior. Those concerns also exist on Broadway, but there have been fewer highly publicized confrontations.