Itzkoff wrote that The Las Vegas Sun reported LuPone stopped the show during a concert performance of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Evita” at the Orleans hotel in Las Vegas when she was distracted by an audience member using an electronic device.

“What were you doing?” Ms. LuPone asked the audience member, according to The Sun. “I promise not to be mad at you. Just tell me, what were you doing – videoing? Taking photos? Texting? I really want to know.” The fan, wisely, did not respond. Ms Lupone then threatened to have the fan thrown out if it happened again, before she resumed singing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.”

Seems like pretty straight forward reporting by Itzkoff, right? So what was LuPone upset with him about?

Maybe it was his opening salvo:

Just when we were starting to remember Patti LuPone as a luminescent if detail-oriented theatre star – and not, say the sort of person who brings an entire show to a halt when she catches an audience member snapping photographs of her – she goes and does it again.

Itzkoff was referring to a January performance of “Gypsy” when the singer reamed a fan who was trying to take her photo and the incident made it onto YouTube.

Like any diva worth her salt, LuPone responded to Iztkoff with a scathing email in which she took him to task for his “snide” tone and then asked him how performers should be expected to behave in the face of such behavior.

Do we allow our rights to be violated (photography, filming and audio taping of performances is illegal) or tolerate rudeness by members of the audience who feel they have the right to sit in a dark theater, texting or checking their e-mail while the light from their screens distract both performers and the audience alike? Or, should I stand up for my rights as a performer as well as the audiences I perform for?

And do you think I’m alone in this? Ask any performer on Broadway right now about their level of frustration with this issue. Ask the actor in “Hair” who recently grabbed a camera out of an audience member’s hand and threw it across the stage. Or ask the two Queens in “Mary Stuart” (Harriet Walter and Janet McTeer) how they react to it.

At this point, a lot of you are probably asking what this has to do with the concert industry. Simple. LuPone has a valid point here that goes beyond the theatre.

When will the invasion of electronic devices and the rude audience members who insist on using them during a show be stopped? If venue staff and security aren’t going to deal with the problem – and it seems that’s increasingly the case – doesn’t that leave the performers no choice but to address the issue?

Here at Pollstar, we work with an incredible array of photographers. All of them are professionals who follow the accepted rules for shooting most shows: first three songs only, no flash. So you can imagine their frustration as they watch dozens, even hundreds of people snap photos during the entire show with camera phones or even digital cameras.

Reader response to Itzkoff’s article and to LuPone’s reply was overwhelming. As of noon eastern time Wednesday there were more than 760 comments.

Most readers were on LuPone’s side, encouraging her to keep up the practice and calling out venues for not cracking down.

Mark wrote:

Good for you Patti. I have at times been amazed at the lack of respect these losers have for the performers and other audience members. The house managers and ushers need to come on stronger at the beginning and let people know they will be asked to leave if they can’t behave. When confronted with rude patrons, the performers (and audience members themselves) have a right, perhaps a duty, to call them out.

Christopher jokingly (?) suggested Ms. L’s response didn’t go far enough:

I think Ms. LuPone should go one step further and, from now on, carry a small pistol on stage and shoot to kill anyone who is rude and disrespectful during a performance. By eliminating them from the gene pool she would be doing the world a great service. While she’s at it, I’d love to have her escort me to the movie theatre and neatly eliminate the people behind me who inevitably decide to loudly discuss the film or answer their phones during the feature.

So what do you think? Is a performer justified in stopping either a theatre performance or a concert to address rude behavior in the audience? In the past couple of years, we’ve seen performers from Barbra Streisand to Toby Keith do it for infractions other than cell phones or cameras. Are they being unprofessional?

And just on the one-in-a-million chance Patti Lupone happens to see this: You go Ms. L! Give ‘em hell!

Read Dave Itzkoff’s report on LuPone’s show-stopping moment here and LuPone’s response and readers comments here.