Vice President-Elect Mike Pence just wanted to see the biggest hit on Broadway. He had been in New York for his work on President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team. But what he got when he went to “Hamilton” on Friday night was a completely out-of-place lecture from the stage.
As he first entered the theater, Pence was rudely met with boos from some audience members. Others cheered him.
Pence sat and watched the show, with security surrounding him. He left during the intermission and came back after the show had re-started. Then, at the end of the show, during the curtain call, Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, delivered a speech directly to Pence, who was already exiting the theater when Dixon began speaking. Pence stopped to listen.
“Vice President-Elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments,” said the actor. Dixon told the audience, “There’s nothing to boo here … We’re all sharing a story of love.”
“We welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ — we really do,” Dixon continued. “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us…”
Producer Jeffrey Seller told The Hollywood Reporter later the curtain-call statement was written with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Tommy Kail and the cast at large.
“The cast, the creators, we all felt that we must express our feelings to Vice President-Elect Pence. This is not a normal time. This is not a normal election. This has not been a normal result. And in a democracy, one must let his and her voice be heard, and we were not going to the show tonight without expressing how we feel,” Seller told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Everybody should be able to see this show, regardless of their politics, but it does just so happen that the politics of this administration have been so negative toward minorities, people of color, gay people that we felt the need to speak up. As a cast comprised of minorities, women, gay people, it was necessary. We had to speak. We had to express how we feel.”
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“Hamilton” has been particularly embraced by liberals for its portrayal of America as a nation of immigrants — casting of Hispanic or black actors in the roles of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers.
President-Elect Donald Trump said in a tweet on Saturday, “Our wonderful future VP Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theatre by the cast of ‘Hamilton,’ cameras blazing. This should not happen!” Trump also tweeted, “The theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of ‘Hamilton’ was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
“It was the most gross display of disrespect I’ve ever seen,” said one theatergoer after the event.
Miranda, for his part, tweeted out, “Proud of ‘Hamilton’ musical. Proud of Brandon V. Dixon for leading with love …” Miranda backed Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. In addition to endorsing her, Miranda held a benefit showing of the musical in July; admission to the show supported the Clinton campaign. Some tickets reportedly went for as much as $10,000.