Last Saturday night, my husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law went to see the Lion King at the local theatre that brings in touring companies (i.e. these are professional Broadway actors on tour to our little town for the month). My father-in-law got our really nice seats in the corporate boxes through his company. So these are NICE seats. I'm talking top of the line, have a waiter just so you can get a coke during the show NICE.
Things were going fine during the first act (I absolutely LOVED everything about the show) until about 20 minutes from intermission. At that point, someone collapses down below us on the main orchestra level (we're almost above them so we can see exactly what's going on). I guess they put the guy in the middle of the aisle so he could lay down, and they called the ushers. Early on, they're trying to be very quiet because there is a very expensive show going on at that point less than 100 feet away from them. But as things get more serious and it's obvious something is wrong, more people start to congregate around the poor man on the ground and draw more attention to him and away from the play. This is not the bad service! Of course they should pay attention to the poor man. However, I work in the theatre industry, and have worked as a stage manager before. I was taught that at this point, you hold the show - bring down the curtain and have the person in charge make a little speech explaining the situation and get the man some help. But they did not do this.
After about 10 minutes, the paramedics arrive. If they didn't stop the show before, when the guys bring in the stretcher, you should have stopped the show now. But they didn't. The show must go on! Anyway, they finally got the guy rolled onto the stretcher, after many machines beeped and buzzed and the paramedics determined he was safe enough to transport. About half the row near him got him to accompany him to the hospital.
The first act concluded and all was dandy until the second-to-last scene in the show (here comes the spoiler!). The actors playing Simba and Scar are both on harnesses in this scene because they are high up in the air on Pride Rock, and Simba pushes Scar off, and he tumbles down to the ground (both are wearing harnesses for safety reasons). Anyway, Scar falls to the stage below in his harness (safely) and the lights come down on Simba for the rest of the scene that happens below. But Simba is still hanging there. The rock gets rolled away and the actor is STILL THERE! They bring the curtains down but do not bring any lights up... for a few minutes, everyone is confused. Then the stage manager comes onto the mic and explains they are having "slight technical difficulties" and will be able to continue shortly. A full minute and a half later, the curtain rises and they finish the last 30 seconds of the show (Circle of Life reprise) and then the curtain call.
So to recap... they correctly hold the show when the actor is stuck in his harness 20 feet above the stage, but they do not hold the show when an audience member could be dying in the aisle, while distracting almost 2000 of his fellow audience members who paid a ton of money to see a Disney musical?