President-elect Donald Trump yesterday demanded an apology from a show’s cast member who gave his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence an onstage message about equality.
Pence drew boos and cheers when he attended a performance of the Broadway musical Hamilton in New York on Friday night.
After the show’s curtain call, actor Brandon Victor Dixon addressed Pence, saying that the multiracial and multicultural cast was concerned about the Trump administration.
“We, sir, 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,” said Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, the nation’s third vice president. “We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us.”
Pence, a Republican, ducked out before Dixon finished the unprecedented message but heard the full remarks from the hallway outside the auditorium.
“Our wonderful future VP Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing,” Trump tweeted yesterday. “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!”
The atmosphere was tense from the time the vice president-elect arrived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, triggering both cheers and boos as he slipped into row F in the prime orchestra seats. After the curtain call, Dixon addressed Pence from the stage, with the cast behind him.
“Vice president-elect Pence, I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us, just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen,” Dixon said. “We’re all here sharing a story about love.”
Outside, many protesters jeered, including one woman who held up a sign with a line from the musical: “Immigrants, we get the job done.”
Hamilton, which won 11 Tony Awards, has been praised by politicians and rap stars alike, influenced the debate over the nation’s currency and burst through the Broadway bubble like none other.
President Barack Obama took daughters Sasha and Malia to see it last year after first lady Michelle Obama caught it last spring. Pence’s predecessor, vice president Joe Biden, has also seen it.
The show is by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical’s book, music and lyrics. It stresses the orphan, immigrant roots of Alexander Hamilton and has been cheered for reclaiming the nation’s founding story by a multicultural cast.
The Alexander Hamilton that Pence saw was Javier Munoz, an openly gay actor. Pence supported numerous efforts to ban gay marriage as governor of Indiana and opposed unfettered federal funding for HIV and Aids treatment. After Pence left, Jeffrey Seller, the show’s lead producer, said he hoped the politician would share the show’s message of empathy: “I hope that maybe it inspires him to feel for those not like him.”