On Friday night, Mike Pence attended a performance of the Broadway musical hit Hamilton. In a curtain call since trending on social media — and sparking a right-wing “boycott” backlash — actor Brandon Victor Dixon (Aaron Burr) delivered a polite, respectful, and friendly but firm message to the incoming vice president.
We have a guest in the audience this evening.
Vice President Elect Pence, I see you’re walking out but I hope you will hear us for just a few more moments. [Audience begins to boo Pence and Dixon holds up his hands.] There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen, nothing to boo. We’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a message for you, sir, and I hope you will hear us out…
We welcome you and truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton…We, sir, 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 alienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us, all of us…
When Pence first took his seat, a smattering of cheers and a lot of jeering greeted him, and incidents of booing continued during the show. The audience interrupted the play with a standing ovation after Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette uttered the immortal lyric: “Immigrants – we get the job done.”
Following the performance, Dixon explained to Broadway Buzz that when they learned about Pence’s impending visit, author and former cast member Lin-Manuel Miranda and the rest of the Hamilton cast and crew saw an irresistible opportunity to speak out.
“When we first got the call that he was coming, there was certainly a question of what we would do,” he said. “These are the opportunities that you die for.” A half hour before the curtain rose, the cast came up a with plan during a phone conversation with Miranda and producer Jeffrey Seller.
“I saw him enjoying [the show] with whoever he was with, and I hope he remembers us,” said Dixon. “I truly believe we had an effect. It was a message from the producers, the creative, and the cast. If you have differences, say something! What better place than on this stage telling this story with these people? I hope he thinks of us every time he has to deal with an issue or talk about a bill or present anything.”
Naturally, Donald Trump’s reaction was a series of whining tweets. He first complained that the cast had “harassed” Pence and then issued an imperious demand:
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!
Like so many other Trump episodes, anyone who watches the videotape can see and hear the truth — which differs diametrically from the president-elect’s invented version. As a New Yorker, he probably knows by now that nobody on Broadway is going to apologize for saying what they believe.
UPDATE: And of course nobody did apologize. But as Trump and his followers went low, the Hamilton crew went high. Answering the president-elect, Brandon Dixon wrote onTwitter: “@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.” Show creator Miranda posted his own tweet: “Proud of @HamiltonMusical. Proud of @BrandonVDixon, for leading with love. And proud to remind you that ALL are welcome at the theater.”