It was business as usual on Thursday afternoon at Lincoln Center, where the Lincoln Center Theater has been producing an upcoming opera titled Intimate Apparel. And then, production hit a snag. At 2:42 p.m., the acclaimed playwright Lynn Nottage, who adapted the opera’s libretto from her play of the same name, informed her 19,000 Twitter followers that she was trapped. “I am locked in the bathroom at Lincoln Center,” Nottage, who is the only woman to twice win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, posted from her iPad. “I have been banging and yelling if you see this tweet send help!”
Immediately, her fans jumped into action. Within nine minutes, Lincoln Center’s official account had replied to her tweet, calmly asking “Hi Lynn, where on campus are you?” Meanwhile, the rest of the theater world, which considers Nottage something of a national treasure, panicked. The beloved Broadway vet Audra McDonald quickly used three exclamation points to alert her 220,000 Twitter followers to the situation: “Um…someone please help one of America’s greatest living playwrights get out of the bathroom!!!”
Finally, 40 minutes that felt like an eternity to Twitter later, Nottage shared an update. “I got out of the bathroom!!!” she tweeted at 3:22 p.m. “Thank you to all that came to my rescue. My appreciation is deep. For a moment … I thought I might [be] stuck for hours.” Fortunately, judging by a tweet that the Lincoln Center Theater posted a bit earlier, it looks like Nottage had at that point already been free for about 27 minutes.
Which brings us to the afternoon’s final act: a Twitter outpouring of rejoice and relief. “Mutha is safe and sound and probably slaying a draft right now,” stage actor and vocalist Larry Owens said. Another Twitter user floated the idea of turning Nottage’s entrapment into a one-man show starring Owens, and he wasn’t the only one to suggest turning it into a play.
Meanwhile, as they dreamed of the future, another looked to the past. “The two most dramatic things to ever happen in a Lincoln Center bathroom,” Tom Zohar tweeted, pairing a screenshot of Nottage’s tweet with a still from Black Swan, featuring a distressed Natalie Portman scrubbing the word “whore,” written in lipstick, off of a mirror.