Washingtonpost.com

The cast of “Hamilton” was not going to throw away its shot.

After Friday evening’s performance, at which Vice President-elect Mike Pence was in the audience, several dozen of the Broadway musical’s cast members zeroed in on Pence during their curtain call. Brandon Victor Dixon — the actor who played Aaron Burr — stepped forth and cut through the applause.

“You know, we have a guest in the audience this evening,” he said to audience laughter. “And 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. There’s nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out.”

As he pulled a small piece of paper from his pocket, Dixon encouraged people to record and share what he was about to say “because this message needs to be spread far and wide.”

(see above)

Twitter exploded late Friday night with responses that cleaved into two camps: Those who cheered the cast for voicing their concerns so directly and those who found the exchange “rude.” In the latter was President-elect Donald Trump, who tweeted twice Saturday morning about Pence’s musical visit, saying that the cast had “harassed” the vice president-elect with “cameras blazing.”

 

“The Theater must always be a safe and special place,” Trump tweeted as a follow-up. “The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”

 

By Saturday morning, #NameAPenceMusical and “The Cast Had Something to Say” were trending.

Though the Broadway cast’s message was directed broadly at what would be an administration under Trump’s presidency, Pence himself has a political track record that has been excoriated by the LGBT community. Last year, as governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after the federal courts ruled that same-sex marriage bans in states were unconstitutional. Under the new state law, Indiana business owners could cite their religious beliefs if they didn’t want to participate in same-sex weddings. Opponents said it amounted to allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation. A week later, after facing boycotts and widespread condemnation from rights groups, Pence signed an amendment clarifying that the law could not be used to discriminate against the LGBT community.

He has a “0%” rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit group that calls Pence “notoriously anti-LGBTQ” when he was chosen to be Trump’s running mate. Republican Chrys Kefalas outlined Pence’s anti-LGBT record in a guest column for The Washington Post:

During his public career, Pence has been an outspoken opponent of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. In Congress, he opposed efforts to encourage foreign governments to decriminalize homosexuality and sought to block the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. As a governor, he stood against not only marriage equality, but civil unions as well. He also opposed a law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace and signed one opening the door to wide-ranging discrimination against these residents of his own state under the guise of religious liberty.

None of this was lost on the audience, who greeted Pence’s arrival to his prime orchestra seat with a mix of cheers and boos, according to the AP.

Mike Pence is a public figure.   A I sincerely hope that the cast does not apologize for politely addressing their wishes.  What would our founding fathers have done?  Probably exactly what the cast of “Hamilton” did  except not as politely.  How dare Trump demand an apology?!  The cast needs to send a BITE ME message.

When our  artistic community is silenced, then we have lost our democracy.

17 thoughts on “Trump demands an apology from cast of “Hamilton”

  1. Robin Hood

    When I was young we had Nixon’s Southern Strategy and the Silent Majority. History repeats itself when we fail to learn its lessons. This divide and conquer tactic goes back to the Colonial Era and reached its full potential during Jim Crow times.

    When Trump said that his opponent was the most corrupt candidate ever to run for president I used to scream at the TV: “Look in the mirror!” Now he has settled a Trump University case. We have seen no tax returns and no blind trust will be put in place for his business while he’s in office. Where can I reserve my “Don’t blame me I voted for Clinton” sticker?

  2. Kelly_3406

    Dixon did not say anything disrespectful to Pence. However, Pence was presumably a paying member of the audience, which should have entitled him to attend in peace.

    Let’s turn this around. What do you suppose the world reaction would have been if a conservative white performer had called out Obama?

    I wish Pence had seized the opportunity to walk on stage, shake Dixon’s hand, and state that the new administration will do its best to protect the rights of all citizens.

    1. But he didn’t. (and I don’t think they will, judging from the track records of those “stars” appointed to date.

      I don’t think that you can wear both hats when elected vice president–private paying member of the audience and newly elected VP.

      People were disrespectful to Obama all the time. However, if Dixon had addressed Obama courteously, I am sure he would have responded with a thoughtful if not funny response.

      1. Steve Thomas

        @MoonHowler

        I thought it pretty classless for the cast to call our a member of the audience, who was just there to enjoy the show. This from a director who put out a “whites need not apply” casting call. Being the grandson of an Irish immigrant who faced similar signs, I think the gentlemen who tried to lecture Pence was lacking in class.

        Pence took it in stride. Don’t forget he was there with his daughter and his niece, both minors. They were there to enjoy the show, and by all accounts they did. Then there were the cheers and jeers, plus the commentary from the cast. Not cool. Even Steven Van Zandt, Liberal from the Sopranos and E Street Band called out the director. He argued that theater should be a place where everyone can go, and let the art challenge their sensibilities.

        My take-away: The celebrity left read the election results and came away with a completely mistaken idea that the working folks who make this country run, actually give a crap what they think. Their over-inflated sense of self-efficacy is apparent. Go back to making music I’ll never listen to, movies and TV shows I’ll never watch, and now Broadway shows I’ll never see. I vote with my wallet. Seen Les Mis 3 times (once on Broadway), Phantom twice (once on Broadway), Chicago, West Side Story, 42nd Street, and Mama Mia at the National Theater. I appreciate a good play or musical. I won’t pay for a to go to a musical which turns into a political rally. Screw the cast of Hamilton, their director, and their production company. I won’t see it, no matter how awesome it is.

      2. That’s how I felt at the Eagles concert when Don Henley was lecturing the audience for 14 minutes against Disney.

        On the other hand, Pence is a public figure, the concerns were delivered politely, and this sure isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

        Then there was Lincoln…

        Pence handled it well. Trump, not so much. Thin skinned as usual.

  3. NorthofNokesville

    There’s the event, the the reaction.

    The event was mild, truth be told. Cheeky, sure. It’s the theater. The guests’ booing was far ruder by normal standards, but again, more or less “meh.” Unless the theater owner objects or sells the tickets under certain condition, I just don’t see it as a big deal. Again, milder even than what you’d see on Prime Minister’s Questions.

    That said….

    The left echo chamber is being played masterfully by Trump. Need a distraction? Generate a tiny non-issue, repackage for social media, watch the professionally outraged left fall out of their tree, watch your supporters get spun, iterate, iterate. Distraction worked, narrative controlled.

    Two reasons this is dangerous strategically:

    1. It keeps the pro-Trump crowd energized and reaffirms the “look how much they hate him, bias, bias, etc” vibe. And it works, not just among the core. I saw the Hamilton clip and thought that’s actually pretty well done. I see a lot of the reactions and I think “more victory by snark” that doesn’t achieve much and also has an opportunity cost.

    2. There’s a lot not to like in some of these appointments or rumored appointments. The rhetorical tactics being employed will backfire. “Fascist!” “Sky is falling!” etc etc. The rhetoric goes to bombast and worst case right off the bat. Know what’s happening? Expectations are being depressed, so if/when things don’t fare quite so badly, or for different reasons (read; debt, economy), the media and commenting class (already suffering bad cred) look like histrionic chicken littles.

    There’s chaos on both sides right now. Only one side benefits from that.

    1. Yea, the Russians. Just kidding. I think the appointments are fairly deplorable but, Trump met my expectations. I didn’t expect any better. Might as well appoint Ann Coulter as press secretary and let’s get it on. My only hope is that no one nukes us and in 2020 people will have learned their lesson.

      I am an old reproductive rights activist going back to the mid to late 80’s. (Yes, I have pretty much passed the torch) However, I learned one thing…its all the opposite of a football game. When your home team is on a winning streak in football, the stadium is filled with people cheering wildly. If you have a political issue, not just repro rights, when you have a winning streak, everyone yawns, gets on their apathy armor and moves on. The flip side is when you are losing in football, people gradually stop coming to the games in droves, other than the real die hard fans. When your political issue starts losing, the movers and shakers start agitating the faithful. There is no better time to fund raise or recruit new members. Paint the enemy as the anti-Christ and everyone can go on a real feeding frenzy.

      I think non-Trump people got really blind sided. I see it as sort of a Tea Party Redoux. Lot’s to say about this one but Trump really needs to go more centrist in an effort to be a uniter. I see just the opposite happening with the appointment of Bannon, Sessions, and a few other hideous (in my opinion) choices. Mitt Romney and people like him who aren’t ideologues or members of an extreme group really would unite rather than throw gasoline on the fire.

      1. NorthofNokesville

        @MoonHowler

        Yeah, at an issue level, I get it. But there’s a difference between macro-optimal and local maximum.

        If I were advising the left (oddly, I’ve not been asked) I would do almost a shadow cabinet like they do in the UK. Informally have a point person supported by a team for each post, and also highlight the choice without doing so overtly.

        The topline names drive some concern (always do). I’m looking at overall pattern, too… there hasn’t been one counter-intuitive or non-core choice. As the 4,000 appointees get vetted and picked, the risk there is that the pattern repeats, loyalty trumps expertise, and the detail-level folks simply mirror their superiors. Building a team is hard, and this transition team has too much overlap with the crowd who will end up governing.

  4. Do we now live in a kakistocracy?

    1. Kelly_3406

      @MoonHowler

      Nope. That was avoided when Hillary lost.

  5. Kelly_3406

    The cast of Hamilton may like to wax philosophically about love and peace, but the best way to ensure security is to build up the military and put the warriors back in charge. There is talk that Trump is considering Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as SecDef. My great hope is that we get rid of the bureaucrats in the Pentagon and put someone in charge like Mattis who knows how to win wars.

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/the-best-from-mad-dog-mattis/

  6. Robin Hood

    Should have nominated Bernie..

    1. NorthofNokesville

      @Robin Hood

      Alexander Hamilton would have lectured Bernie hard 🙂

  7. El Guapo

    Contrast this with prior leaders. George W. Bush was mercilessly made fun of during his presidency. The jabs at President Obama were particularly cruel. Both handled it rather maturely knowing that this comes with the territory. Any President is going to be subject to jokes by SNL and late night comedians and criticism (sometimes harsh and unfair) by opposition.

    1. El Guapo, are you suggesting that the president elect has thin skin?
      What will he do when people start making ugly remarks about his wife, like was done about Mrs. Obama?

    2. punchak

      @El Guapo
      This was different, in my opinion. This was in a theater, not on
      TV or at a roast. If I, myself, had been there and paid big money
      to see the musical, and the audience started to boo another person of the audience, I would have been real, real mad. And reading a pointed message to a paying “customer” after
      the performance, was totally unacceptable. Pence showed
      real class, by not making a big deal of it. That´s how I feel.

      I detest Trump, BTW.

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