‘Hamilton’ actor on the cast’s speech for Pence: ‘There’s nothing to apologize for’ – Washington Post
The “Hamilton” actor who delivered the Broadway show’s viral message to Vice President-elect Mike Pence after a performance Friday said there is “nothing to apologize for” in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s many tweets demanding one from what he deemed a “very rude” cast of an “overrated” show.
Speaking on “CBS This Morning” on Monday, Brandon Victor Dixon — who plays Aaron Burr in the musical — said he felt that the popular show was a platform through which the cast could deliver a plea for understanding and inclusion after a divisive presidential election.
“Art is meant to bring people together. It’s meant to raise consciousness,” Dixon said. “And when you have a platform like that — I called [show producer] Jeffrey Seller after the show and said I applaud you all for not throwing away your shot, for taking a moment to spread a message of love, to spread a message of unity. We’re not here to boo. We’re here to cheer each other on.”
Dixon told “CBS This Morning” hosts he received a call from the producers of “Hamilton” about an hour before Friday’s performance started, asking if he would be willing to speak on behalf of the show.
“I’m not sure why they decided to ask me, but I was happy to,” Dixon said. “I was honored to represent our cast in our show in that way.”
After the show, several dozen of the musical’s cast members zeroed in on Pence during their curtain call. Still dressed as Burr, Dixon 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.”
“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said to further applause. “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 inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”
Twitter exploded late Friday night over the “Hamilton” cast’s message, with responses that cleaved into two camps: Those who cheered the cast for voicing its concerns so directly and those who found the exchange inappropriate.
In the latter camp was President-elect Donald Trump, who said the cast members had “harassed” Pence with “cameras blazing” and demanded they apologize.
“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!”
Trump would continue to tweet about the “Hamilton” incident into the next day, insisting at 6:22 a.m. Sunday that the cast and producers of the show, “which I hear is highly overrated,” should apologize to Pence.
On Twitter, some Trump supporters called for a boycott of the musical. During the Saturday evening performance of “Hamilton” in Chicago, one audience member reportedly became so upset at an oft-applauded line in the musical — “Immigrants, we get the job done!” — that he began berating those near him with profanities, before fully erupting two songs later.
“We won. You Lost. Get over it. F— you,” the man, identified as 56-year-old John Palmer, yelled during “Dear Theodosia,” a tender number about a father’s unconditional love for his newborn child. Palmer was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass to land after refusing to leave, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
On Monday, “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King recounted the Chicago incident and asked Dixon whether he feared he had set a precedent for similar interruptions during “Hamilton” or other productions.
“No, and I’ll tell you that is certainly not the first time, nor will it be the last, that somebody went into a theater and began to act inappropriately or stand up and interrupt the show,” Dixon said.
Over the weekend, Dixon had initially responded to Trump on Twitter, saying that conversation did not amount to harassment and that he appreciated that Pence stopped to listen.
@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.
— Brandon Victor Dixon (@BrandonVDixon) November 19, 2016