• Broadway Beat

Closing Night Cast Pranks Star by Replacing Fake Whiskey with Real Rattlesnake

by Calder Holbrook. @calderholbrook.

NEW YORK, NY - During the final performance of Bang Bang, Betty at the LaCette Theater on Friday, the cast performed a closing night prank on star Sheila Tierney by replacing the fake whiskey drunk throughout the play by her character Betty with a real rattlesnake.


“Obviously Sheila’s glass normally contains iced tea, or she’d be wasted in ten minutes the way Betty drinks!” said Andre Stuart, who originated the role of Tim and also owns Snakeson Rattlesander, the rattlesnake in question. “But since this was the last time, we figured it there would be no harm in replacing the innocent drink with a deadly serpent. Classic theatre shenanigans!”


Tierney was a good sport as she recounted the moment to reporters later that evening while receiving emergency anti-venom treatment from the theater’s nurse.


“Everyone had been acting so funny before the last call for places, and the first time I went to the wet bar on stage I realized why: because the Jack Daniels bit me,” said Tierney, for whom it was just the third on-stage animal bite in her storied career. “Let’s just say that when Betty slaps Tim for the first time, it might have been a tiny bit real.”


Ordinarily cast pranks are only for members of the company, but Friday’s audience quickly realized they were seeing something special.


“Sheila played off unwittingly drinking a wild predator like the pro that she is,” said theatregoer Ben Hope, who bravely caught the snake in his oversized fannypack and safely released it alive in a nearby bar. “When the snake slithered out of its glass and into the audience, I’d never felt more like a big time Broadway star. In fact, I got to be the big hero, because it stopped attacking people after I fed it the live mouse I brought as a snack for myself.”


Closing night switcheroo pranks are a longtime tradition of the theater, and have also included replacing prop guns with legit marriage licenses, wigs with identical wigs and Harold Pinter plays with real drama.