Photo Credit: Patti LaBelle/Instagram

Patti LaBelle is used to having show stopping performances some 6 decades into her career, but what she experienced at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater was something completely different. Not long after starting the night, the theater, which holds close to 2,500 people and was near capacity was evacuated due to a bomb threat and she was quickly rushed off stage while speaking to a fan. Milwaukee Police Capt. Warren E. Allen Jr. made a statement by email Saturday night around 10:30 pm saying “Regarding the bomb threat in the 100 block of W. Wisconsin, all patrons have been safely evacuated. Police are clearing the facility at this time. The investigation is fluid and ongoing.” Then around 1:13 am another statement was made saying, “The building was searched by K9 units. No explosive devices were discovered. There is no threat to the public at this time.”

The fan LaBelle was speaking to was celebrating their 70th birthday and she was receiving flowers from another fan when it all went down. “Wait,” she cried when being taken off stage. Concertgoer Catherine Brunson who livestreamed the ordeal on Facebook around 9:24 pm when LaBelle was barely 2 songs into her show when she said, “Somebody got on a microphone and said we have to evacuate the building because there was a bomb threat. We came out and police had the block taped off. … A whole lot of people were pretty upset. … It’s scary.”

Another attendee, Scott Pierce told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “It happened so quickly. Everybody very calmly exited the theater in a disbelieving manner. I heard lots of comments about how sad it was that someone would pull such a pathetic stunt. Before the incident the crowd was really enjoying Patti,” Pierce added. “Just sad that someone does this.” And the Riverside Theater’s operating group made a statement saying the show was postponed, stating “We are thankful for the efforts of the Milwaukee Police Department and our customers and staff for their safe and orderly exit. We are working with the artist to reschedule the show.”

In another Pattti Labelle news, she’s currently starring in a new Hallmark Christmas movie,  A New Orleans Noel alongside Keshia Knight Pulliam and Brad James. She’s playing what’s described as a New Orleans “praline icon,” the first black woman to own a praline company there that’s having her home worked on. Grace and Anthony, played by Pulliam and James went to college together but are complete opposites, yet things changed after working on this project and ended up spending Christmas together.