Yes, members of the audience at Friday night’s performance of “Hamilton” were rude to boo Vice President-elect Mike Pence when he and his family took their seats at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Nov. 18.
No, the cast was not rude and Pence was not being harassed when Brandon Victor Dixon delivered a short and respectful statement following the curtain call and ended with, “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
President-elect Donald Trump condemned the incident in several Tweets the next day using the words “rude” and “harassed” and “Apologize!” He also threw in that he heard the musical, that won 11 Tony Awards and is essentially sold out for a year, was “overrated.” Oh, and it also won a Pulitzer.
Some Trump supporters calling for a boycott. (Send me your tickets, please!) Pence says he wasn’t offended.
The statement was a collaboration among by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda; its director, Thomas Kail, and the lead producer, Jeffrey Seller, with input from cast members, Seller told the NYTimes.
This is, after all, a play about white historical figures played by black and Hispanic actors who were very upset the days after the election that a man who has said not nice things about their heritage will be president for the next four years.
The New York Times reported, “The audience gave a standing ovation during the play at the line, ‘Immigrants, we get the job done,’ one theatergoer, Christy Colburn, wrote on Twitter.”
While running, Trump said he would change libel laws so he could sue news groups if he didn’t like what they wrote about him. Will he follow in the footsteps of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey who has jailed 120 journalists since a failed coup attempt in July for writing things he didn’t like?
If Trump thinks that people who disagree with him don’t have the right to say so– or to protest — it’s going to be a looooong four years.
Meanwhile, E Street Band member Steve Van Zandt has weighed in on the side of Trump, in that he says “Hamilton” cast should apologize to Pence and that a theater should be a haven. To read more about Bruce Springsteen’s longtime guitarist’s opinions on this, click here.