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Popular YouTube star Joe Sugg is moving from the computer screen to the West End stage. Next month, he’ll be joining the cast of Waitress, a musical that follows a pregnant waitress as she eyes a pie contest as a way out of a life she doesn’t want. Sugg will play Ogie, the love interest of another waitress at the diner where much of the show is set.
The vlogger’s fans are understandably thrilled at the opportunity to see him in this new role, but theater fans are a little nervous about how this may reshape the experience of attending a production.
as for fans of Joe Sugg who will be attending these shows to see him. I’m all for you supporting your faves & I’m so happy that more people will be experiencing theatre but please please please educate yourself on theatre etiquette !!!— alana (@strangertxzier) August 20, 2019
The concern seems to revolve around the idea that YouTube fans, or fans that are going to see the show just for Joe, may not have very much experience going to the theater.
“I can’t wait for y’all to fall in love with it,” one person tweeted. “Just put your phones away during the show.”
and the people that are in it are a really lovely bunch. i can’t wait for y’all to fall in love with it.— matt (@bxnterson) August 20, 2019
just put your phones away during the show.
Another user went so far as to make a quick guide to theater etiquette for anyone who might be attending a show for the first time in response to Sugg’s casting.
“Remember it’s not the Joe Sugg show,” she wrote, reminding people to only clap or cheer for his presence when appropriate.
It’s no secret that online influencers often have a devoted and enthusiastic fanbase. Just take one look at videos from conventions like VidCon or Summer in the City and you can understand why patrons of an outing that requires a quieter audience might be at least a tad bit concerned at the possibility that fans might bring that same convention energy to the theater.
But that concern isn’t going unchallenged, with a number of Sugg stans slamming Waitress fans as condescending for assuming all the people who watch Joe’s videos are screaming teens who don’t know anything about manners.
“OMG can people stop being so patronising to Joe Sugg fans?” one YouTuber tweeted. “Like, they’re not all animals let out of a zoo.”
it makes theatre goers look rude and like, "you're entering our space and we know better than you". im sure lots of them have been to the theatre before and even if they haven't, they'll have been to the cinema, or something similar and im sure they understand.— Amy Lovatt (@AmyLovatt_) August 20, 2019
😂😂 slightly sweeping generalisation- I’m most definitely a joe fan, in a fan gc & everyone is 20+ & includes scientists, teachers, a magazine editor & high end uni students. All are regular theatre goers. All came for strictly, but stuck around for the person.— Michael (@DefineEclectic) August 20, 2019
@ MT/waitress fans getting mad about joe sugg being stunt casted because they think his fans are all children— sari (@sarahastral_) August 20, 2019
Most of his fans are either late teens/early 20s and 60+ old ladies, it’s just the small number of 11 year olds who have stan pages who are loud online
“You’d be surprised at how many audience members don’t [have manners]!!” the person who tweeted the etiquette list countered. “This isn’t a personal jab at Joe fans. It’s more just that a new audience may have never been to the theatre/know what’s expected and have only been to big loud concert where audience participation is encouraged.”
But at the end of the day, Waitress fans and Joe Sugg fans still have one thing they can agree on—it’s going to be a show worth seeing. And hopefully one without any iPhone cameras going off mid-performance.
Rachel Kiley is a writer who sometimes writes things and sometimes is based in L.A., but is definitely always on Twitter @rachelkiley.