Shane Strawbridge as Bertha Bumiller and Eric Dobbins as Didi Snavely. Photo by Eric Younkin

At last night’s performance of A Tuna Christmas at Theatre Arlington, one audience member ignored the customary “turn off your phone and pagers” announcement that preceded the show.

During an early scene between the production’s stars Eric Dobbins and Shane Strawbridge an audience member’s phone started ringing.

“When I first heard the phone ring, I was annoyed,” said Dobbins. “Once it kept going, I decided, with Shane’s help, to go for it.”


“We went and got the phone,” said Strawbridge. “We went into the house and took the guy’s phone away.”

Strawbridge and Dobbins bantered back and forth about the quality of the phone and how much they could sell It for on the black market. The duo then proceeded to unlock the patron’s phone and take a selfie onstage before returning the phone to the patron. The move was met with an ovation from the house, and a standing ovation from the offending party.

“The guys in the booth were all looking at each other like ‘I can’t believe it, they’re doing it,’” said director Jim Johnson. “I knew they might do it. Those two are fearless.”

There was no further disruption during the performance.

“We tried to find the guy after the show so we could take a photo with him, but he got out of there quick,” Strawbridge said.

The duo handled the situation better than some. Here is a link to Patti Lupone’s famous tirade in which she stopped the production of Gypsy mid-show to yell at a person who was taking a cell phone picture.

A Tuna Christmas runs thru Dec 22 at Theatre Arlington, 316 W Main Street. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8:00, Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00, and Sundays at 2:00 and 5:30. There is a special added performance on Wednesday, December 18 at 7:30. 817-275-7661.