Broadway Lectures the VP-Elect Pence. Bravo or Boo?

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November 21, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013

 

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A lecture with every ticket.

 

A not so funny thing happened to one patron in the audience at last Friday night’s showing  of the Broadway musical Hamilton. He received an unexpected lecture from the cast. Right after the full cast took its curtain call and bows the house lights went up and Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who portrays Aaron Burr in the musical let newly elected Vice-president Mike Pence have it with both barrels, Burr style.

Mr. Pence, attending the play with his young daughter and several of her cousins sat in the audience and graciously listened to this scripted and no doubt, unwelcome lecture;

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,” said Brandon Victor Dixon, who portrays Aaron Burr. “But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us, all of us. We truly thank you for sharing this show — this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”

 

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So diverse and inclusive Whites Need Not Apply.

 

Afterwards, Mr. Pence said that while he certainly found the “calling-out” to be unexpected and even unprecedented, he simply deflected questions as to its appropriateness. “That is for others to determine,” he said, adding that “the play was wonderful and I urge people to see it to learn more of our founding fathers.”

Predictably, his boss, the newly elected President Trump was not so generous. He immediately demanded an apology from the cast of Hamilton, calling the show bloated and highly overrated to boot.

Supporters of the show quickly came to its defense arguing that curtain calls have been used in the past to make political statements or urge action or plead for compassion during times of heightened societal tensions.

Pointed political plays such as Rent or The Band Played On which deal with homosexuality, discrimination and indifference have been examples of such “stage advocacy.”

On the other hand, critics were also just as quick to point out that it’s one thing to offer up a general statement or call to action very much another to single out an audience member, even a public figure, and lecture him from the stage.

 

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We proudly discriminate against Dogs!

 

Apparently, Mr. Pence’s “crime” was being a paying customer at their show and not their choice for vice-president.

Stevie Van Zandt, lead guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band and no stranger to controversy let loose with a few choice riffs of his own in response. “You don’t single out an audience member and embarrass him or her from stage. Theater should be a safe haven for Art to speak. Not actors.”

Mr. Dixon who read the scripted “lecture” penned by Hamilton’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, has since made the media rounds to double-down on their cast calling-out. On CNN this morning and on NBC’s Today show he said that the cast’s outrage over the direction the nation is taking gave them no choice but to speak out. Supported by both interviewers he reiterated his message and criticism of both the newly elected Vice-president and President, saying that it was deserved.

When asked if he thought he should apologize to either Mr. Pence or Trump, Dixon made a joke, referencing that a Burr never backs down and won’t start now. This evinced a hearty laugh from all at the interview table.

 

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The whole election is just not funny.

 

And the far left wonders still, why Secretary Clinton lost, and why over 60 million of their fellow Americans see them as utterly spoiled, hopelessly elitist and in a seemingly never-ending temper tantrum. Seriously. Can you imagine if Mr. Obama was in the audience with his daughters and was lectured from stage by a cast member over his decisions in the Middle East? Or Trade policy? Or why his Obamacare premiums just went up? Or how about from the cast of “Blue Line” about even more recent lethal ambush attacks on police officers across this country and his arguably muted and meek response?

The outrage, the vitriol, the indignation would be loud enough to fill opera houses from coast to coast.

Look, I get the fear that many feel about the recent election of Mr. Trump. A rainbow campaign of inclusion and acceptance were not exactly the dominant themes of his campaign. He voiced the frustration, fear and anger a number of Americans feel about terrorism, immigration and loss of jobs and opportunity that at times was blunt even incendiary. His choice for vice president has carved out a conservative career and has rose to prominence on social issues that have angered many, especially in the LGBTQ community.

On the other hand, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence chose to accentuate economic opportunity for all rather than placate with what they and their supporters see as platitudes of harmony and governmentally orchestrated social equity. Throughout the campaign candidate Trump largely avoided many divisive social issues choosing to hammer away at economic ones. And it worked. He and not Secretary Clinton is the one putting together a transition team to take office in January of 2017.

 

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WTHRC?

 

And it seems that its about time those that did not support him at least give him the chance to be what he himself says is his goal-To be the president for all Americans.

Sure they can keep breaking the “Fourth Wall” and lecturing the paying audience about American values and liberty and democracy but it seems both shrill and a bit hypocritical. Shrill because Mr. Pence along with his boss have yet to even be inaugurated and hypocritical because the main lead of their musical Mr. Alexander Hamilton was the architect of the present day electoral college. A system that just elected Mr. Trump and Pence to the highest office of this land.

And with single ticket prices for Hamilton going at between $650 and $1,225 a pop it seems kind of elitist and unappreciative to lecture anyone in your audience. At those prices you probably should be cheering them and hoping they come back for the next day’s matinee show. Or does your theater only accommodate and seat those whose views you agree with?

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57 thoughts on “Broadway Lectures the VP-Elect Pence. Bravo or Boo?

  1. Amber T says:

    A Big Fat Boo! Not the time or the place. Just shut-up and sing or act or whatever you do this play.

  2. Amy G says:

    I get why they lectured Pence, it is Broadway after all! But, not the place or time to do it. Save the op/eds for the op/ed pages not the stage.

  3. A. Hughes says:

    My husband is a comedy-enthusiast and we both like to laugh (who doesn’t, right). He study theater for his major and he writes on a variety of comedy genres. From time to time we talk about comedy – one of the topics we’ve discussed, “Is it okay for comedians to joke about general populations or to singling somebody out.” Comedians make generalized jokes all the time and sometimes it’s funny but we believe it’s not okay to single a person out – no matter who they are, because it targets that person. Targeting is especially wrong when you’re on a public forum because you never know how far people will take “it”. But this is just how we feel. And I feel our previous conversations apply to this situation.

    Although I don’t disagree with the message – I don’t think it was the right time or place for what happened at the theater.

    • Lexis Lloyd says:

      I agree with your perspective on this topic. There is definitely a thin line and I believe in this situation, that line was crossed. You couldn’t be more spot on when you say that there is a time and a place for this behavior and clearly this was the wrong setting. It definitely was not appropriate and the actor had no right to call someone out like that. It is never a good idea to try and mix politics into something especially when you are putting on a play. On top of that, the actor displayed no remorse for his behavior. I say leave the lecture out if you want to continue to have an audience.

      • Harry Nelson says:

        I just went tot he Georgia/Georgia Tech game last weekend and while the rivalry was hot, none of the fans called out anyone. We all went home safe. The actor should have gotten a penalty and should have been ejected from the play.

      • Kyle Rudrow says:

        I think the play, which is rooted in politics, was actually a good venue to voice concerns about contemporary politics and generates a discussion about political views. If he was a private citizen, I would be opposed to the public criticism and consider it unwarranted. But he is not. Pence will be the Vice-President of the United States. Perhaps one of the most influential vice-presidents in American history. The play is about one of America’s founding fathers — crafters of the United States Constitution who’s first Amendment articulated the need for freedom of speech. Although I disagree with Pence on most issues, he is someone who believe the constitution should be upheld. This is why even he had nothing negative to say about the performance

  4. Tayo Sowemimo says:

    Vice President-elect; Mike Pence is a public figure, and the current governor of the great state of Indiana; I will assume such outburst is nothing new to him. The message that was conveyed at the Broadway musical Hamilton, while I will argue, such “lecture “could have been presented through other forum, we should be clear, it is constitutionally protected. The vast majority of people voicing out their feelings amplified by perhaps the most divisive campaign in recent times, are not denying the fact that Mr. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the US, and by the way, Vice President-elect Pence stated he was not offended by the “lecture”, and I believe he shouldn’t be.

    • E. Griffin says:

      Everyone makes many great points. Arguments can be made all day as whether or not Broadway was or wasn’t the proper forum the performers to make their “lecture.” Fact of the matter is they were will within their constitutional rights in doing so as Tayo stated. I don’t necessarily think that the fact that Pence wasn’t offended by the “lecture” adds validity to the case of the Broadway performers, however I do agree that he shouldn’t have been offended. None of the “lecture” came off as offensive, or as if it was intended to be offensive.

  5. Chardonnay Watson says:

    I understand why they felt the need to express themselves during a Broadway drama, but they honestly should have waited for another opportunity to express themselves and just give the people what they paid for. Everyone has a right to their own decisions but that does not mean you lecture the whole facility, just to get a message through to one person.

  6. I have no problem with what the cast did at face value, all political persuasions aside. And I would still be fine with it even if it was Obama getting the lecture from the stage as well.

    Did Mike Pence not sign an Indiana law allowing private business owners to refuse service to homosexual people? By his own self-serving logic and politics, if a theater owner had a religious objection to his views, lifestyle, or personal convictions, they should be able to throw him out of the theater and not even allow him to view the performance so long as they refund his ticket purchase. This is all much ado about nothing. A whole lot of people protest-eth-ing too loudly.

    • Amy G says:

      Nice try here but you stretched it way too far. Bottom-line, we have a political process if you want to disagree or protest or even get Pence out of office then get enough votes and do it. Lecturing someone from the stage ain’t cool so I doth protest not too much here only enough to make clear you are absolutely wrong.

  7. Greg Gates says:

    Not the appropriate forum to single someone out. Such tactless behavior has people viewing the left as a serious source of thoughtless social disruption. Sure the left by definition is not satisfied with the status quo, but at some point you have to consider if your behavior is negatively impacting advocacy of your agenda. That is, your actions and your forum are negatively shaping public opinion on your cause, not what you are advocating.

  8. will1621 says:

    Wrong setting and truly classless. Making a broad statement to the audience is fine but to single out an audience member is tacky. I thought Pence handled it well and deflected the incident. His boss needs to follow suit. Can we actually find a difference in the actions of the cast and the response of the President-elect? I can’t…

    Will

  9. Clint Backstrom says:

    Not the time or place for their childish antics. There are plenty of avenues for the cast to voice their opinons besides the theater stage. Pence handled it well but he should not have had to handle it at all. These are the same set of individuals who don’t understand why people view them as entitled and coddled people who lack respect.

  10. Cenetta. B says:

    I have no problem with what the cast of Hamilton did, in fact, I appreciate it. They were using their platform to speak on behalf of those who have none, including myself. Combined, VP-elect Pence and President-Elect Trump have been nothing short of xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, and racist throughout this election and I am worried. In addition, what was said wasn’t disrespectful, and it was at curtain call, after what they’d paid for had already passed. Hamilton is sold out for the next year and a half, I feel that they are in the perfect position to speak out. Who is really going to boycott a show after they’ve spent $1,225 on it?

  11. Ashley K. says:

    Is nothing sacred?! I haven’t been lucky enough to see Hamilton yet but just from obsessively listening to the soundtrack for months (which is so long that it tells the majority of the story), I can tell that it will be one of my all-time favorite plays. The play is a work of genius and I can certainly see why it’s remained so popular since opening on Broadway. The play also focuses on diversity and immigration as major themes, which is fitting considering that Hamilton himself was an immigrant. The cast of Hamilton is also completely ethnic by design and has openly discussed various hot topics through the venue of the theater. So, I was not surprised that the cast made a statement to Pence, through the actor who plays Aaron Burr, no less. I wonder what Burr himself would have thought of this. In the play, Burr repeatedly tells Hamilton he should “Talk less, smile more. Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for” which seems to directly oppose the speech made to Pence. Anyway, I don’t think that this was an inappropriate speech when considering the type of play Hamilton is and how the theater has always been a way for society to wrestle with modern issues and interpret current events. However, I do agree that directly speaking to Pence was uncalled for and in seemingly poor taste. I would have been much more understanding if it had been a general monologue to the audience, even referencing Pence and Trump by name, but not directed towards a specific member of the audience. In any case I think that’s just rude.

  12. April Brauda says:

    “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Elie Wiesel

    I fail to see what makes the action of politely expressing concern and sharing your hopes for the future so heinous. As Americans, we have the freedom to speak freely, which fortunately is not contingent on being found non-offensive by all those who hear it. I’m afraid the “PC” train might have gone a little far past the rationality station on this one. The “outrageous” remarks did not involve any specific attacks in reference to Pence’s record including opposition of federal funding for those suffering from H.I.V/AIDS (unless the state would also invest in programs to discourage people from engaging in non-heterosexual relationships), his open opposition to Roe V. Wade or support of laws that would allow discrimination against LGBT people in the case of religious objections. They simply stated their case that they be represented and protected as well and even asked the audience to refrain from booing.

    I’m not here to share my opinion on our future V.P, rather to share a different perspective. It is imperative we are allowed to speak our minds, even if our words aren’t found comforting to all those who hear and in turn they are able to respond freely. When you choose to go into public office you choose for your decisions to be judged by the general population. They used their voice of reason and concern to appeal to Mr. Pence during a time they felt they might be received. I would never ask any of you to keep your concerns to yourself, rather I’ll always argue for your ability to express them in a way that is constructive, regardless of if your opinions differ from my own. And when those opinions are expressed, no apologies need be demanded regardless of who they are addressed to. I’d prefer a world where we can speak, disagree, and challenge one another’s beliefs freely; the world doesn’t move forward in silence. We must avoid conflating pleas for human decency with harassment. Furthermore, I fail to see how a man who refers to Mexican immigrants as rapists first and “some I assume good people” later could find offense in the mild mannered statements of Brandon Victor Dixon but I suppose the fact that this man is going to be our president must exempt him from the same standards of propriety we hold our theatre actors to.

  13. Angel Maxwell says:

    Honestly, this is truly something I would deem as VERY disrespectful! I would never imagine addressing any individual outside of the office in a public setting while they are with their friends and family. However, I can understand his frustration that we’ve elected someone who has portrayed that they stand for nothing that support minorities. This Presidential elect has also recruited like-minded individuals. This can be argued unethical how Mr. Dixon had called out Mr. Pence, however rather boast about how it was deemed disrespectful, it should be seen as a challenge that he ought to address accordingly. Fortunately, he hasn’t taken to twitter as Presidential elect Trump, but the next four years we can see if his response was appropriate to concerns of the American people.

  14. Kendria Swift says:

    I’m not 100% sure that the play was the platform to simply go off on a lecture rant towards the future vice president. While I do believe that every person has the right to be heard, the venue did not make sense. I believe if the actors had ran into the upcoming VP in another venue, all that was stated could have been acceptable. It is clear that many Americans are speaking out in opposition of the results of the election. There is nothing that we can do to change this outcome now that we are here.

  15. Brett Stanelle says:

    I am inclined to agree with the majority of posters that this was distasteful. Just because I can do something and have the opportunity to do it, doesn’t mean that I should, or that it is right to do so. Politician is one of those professions where you almost have to have think-skin to be successful. If you get pulled over by the police, do you want a lecture to go with you ticket? How about some dietary choice critique for the bagger at the grocery store? Likely you expect them to do their jobs and let you get on with your life. In this moment, I sympathize with Pence trying to turn off the politics for the night and take his family to see a show with phenomenal reviews. Whether he was upset about it or not, he got more than he paid for. The fact that our political views don’t align doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the art of what you do and interpret the message from the work on my own. At least not until you ruin it for me by singling me out in front of my family and the rest of the theater to express your personal opinion. Political views aside, Pence seemed to handle it with stride, much better than I would have if someone launched a sneak attack (regardless of the subject matter) when I was least expecting it. Keep it classy Broadway.

  16. Antonio A. says:

    I feel that honestly, they have the opportunity to use their platform if they want. It’s their free speech, and they can do what they want with it. Folks have openly critiqued many other presidents, especially President Obama, and I feel that they at least seemed to do it with some tact. At the end of the day, if their employer doesn’t have a problem with them doing this, and seizing the opportunity, then who are we to? If it bothers you that people may protest, then just don’t go. Lastly, it is not serious enough for apologies, and President-Elect Trump has some nerve to demand an apology after all of the hate that he’s spewed these past like two years.

  17. Raphael Walters says:

    This entire situation was a comical relief. I understood the cast needed to get a particular “topic” off of their chest, so what other way than during a play. It was their platform and most comfortable element to talk, so they did just that. Nonetheless, it was not the time or place for that shenanigans. Think smarter Hamilton cast!

  18. Harry Nelson says:

    This may have been the type of thing that cost Hillary the election. These types of shenanigans have grown stale (in addition to being in extreme poor taste). Stale to the point that people would vote for a yellow dog rather than voting for Hillary (I mean, who really wanted Trump?). I think that we may have witnessed somewhat of a paradigm shift. Not sure if many people will want to see it.

    • April Brauda says:

      What does this (or any similar situations, which I am unsure of the existence of) have to do with Hillary Clinton?

      • Harry Nelson says:

        Hi April,

        There was an election held on November 9th. That may relate the two 😛 Actually, watching the speech was not too bad. I talked with one of our students who is a theatre major and it is not uncommon for actors to address the audience. I’d have to say that if a VP elect ever came to one of my guitar concerts that I’d have to speak to him or her. But the incident has become notorious by now and it adds to a lot of precedent. I recall seeing stickers that said “F the President” spoof on “W the President.” Now that was a philistine thing to do (but it was actually pretty funny).

        Getting back to precedent, every election cycle we hear artists and actors threatening to leave for Canada or Australia. It is this rhetoric that connects the incident above with Hillary Clinton and any other candidate supported by those who engage in it. My point is that it is going to start getting old and it will start to detract from the efforts of candidates like Hillary.

        (Personally I thought he was relatively tasteful in the address, but the timing was bad because it has erupted into this brewhaha.)

      • April Brauda says:

        So Trump making an issue of something makes it “bad”? Something doesn’t become “bad” because a big deal is made of it. I believe we should think for ourselves and avoid allowing someone ability to influence our feelings towards the “appropriateness” of issues. Furthermore politicians are all to aware of the possibility of receiving criticism from the general public regarding their decisions and beliefs…which is likely why Pence himself shrugged off the issue as if nothing happened. I believe there was a quote of him telling his family “this is what freedom sounds like” as he was being boo’d. The one who made an issue of this entire thing was not the cast of Hamilton as events similar to these occur all the time but rather the President-elect who has a twitter following to maintain.

  19. MMiller says:

    I fail to see why this was such a big deal and Trump asked the cast to apology? As if there are not more pressing matters that should be in the news. So ridiculous but it is the new normal to pay attention to everything but what matters.

    • Harry Nelson says:

      I think it’s important to respond to this. I’ll tell a story:

      Once Julian Bream was performing and an audience member walked in late during the first piece. He stopped and watched them all the way to their seat. The point is that they interrupted the performance for the whole audience. The performance is what people are there for. In the case above the actor interrupted the performance to make an out of line political commentary. It’s a disgrace to the performance. As the leader of our society the president or president elect would be remiss if they didn’t speak to this.

      • April Brauda says:

        I’m glad he interrupted a performance by speaking post curtain call. Your imigination seems vivid. Please try to refrain from having such a strong opinion when you lack basic information on the matter. And MMiller is likely correct in assuming it was a ploy to divert attention away from things of actual importance.

      • Harry Nelson says:

        Thanks April. What information did I miss? Please explain.

      • Kyle Rudrow says:

        What you describe are two very different circumstances. An actor interrupting her or his own show is an oxymoron.

      • Harry Nelson says:

        Not really. The actor’s job is to present the work, not to interrupt it or to otherwise detract from it (unless you work at Medieval Times 🙂 )

      • Kyle Rudrow says:

        The actor’s had already been detracted from the mixed chorus of boos and applause that had broke out in the theater. They did nothing more than address the big elephant in room. In fact, nearly every concert, theater performance, comedic act I’ve attended, if the presenter was distracted by an individual or group in the audience, they addressed the distraction in someway. It would have been more unusual if it had simply been ignored. The cast said nothing more than express their hope that Pence would respect American rights and protect diversity. If Trump considers that “harassment,” as he claimed in his Twitter tirade, there should be a closer examination of Trump’s perspective on American rights.

    • A. Hughes says:

      Since you mention this – my husband swears that giving attention to anything-Trump only promotes him. I think he’s right – and media is still continuing to overly cover his antics.

      I’m not trying to be insensitive but the same goes for domestic terrorist – giving them attention is the worst thing to do. Yes, give the victims recognition and remembrance, but media should not give-in to repeatedly naming and branding individuals.

      Like you said, these stories take away from real issues. Good point.

      Have you ever watched The Newsroom – good show on HBO that makes me think of such scenarios…

  20. gljackson33 says:

    I totally agree with the cast on the new elected president should be the president for all. America is diverse and the newly elected president should pay attention to everybody and be the president for every America.

  21. Megan P. says:

    I have to disagree with the majority of commentators here.

    While some may deem the Hamilton cast’s actions inappropriate, it is through this very play that MANY of the things both Trump and Pence have very loudly stated their opinions about are challenged. Miranda’s intent and impact behind penning Hamilton in the way and with the cast he chose to is a testament to the vision of America today and the America of tomorrow, and that includes: Black, White, Hispanic, Latinx, LGBTQ, etc. It did not surprise me in the least that the cast chose that moment to speak to their values and those of the show’s creator. Further, Hamilton is as much a social representation of the unheard and under-served in America as a political one. Representing our founding fathers as men (and potentially women, I’m sure) of color was met with just as much disdain and the cast’s vocalization of their views, so lets not pretend that those in the laps of Trump and his peers haven’t been nice-nasty up to that point.

    And with regard to the costs of seats to see Hamilton, there have been and continue to be numerous opportunities for viewers to get tickets for $10 through a daily lottery and funding through a variety of benefactors to make the show accessible to and part of the high school curriculum for students in the NY area.

    Overall, I believe the theater is as good as any to speak to one’s values, particularly in the case of a show as diverse and impactful as Hamilton has been.

  22. Lindsey Bettis Jones says:

    I think you have made some excellent points here. While I can agree with some of the points the case made at the play, I don’t think it was done in the most respectful and tasteful way. I don’t think it was best to call Pence out specifically in front of everyone and his family. A general statement about the way in which the cast hopes to see the future of our country go would have sufficed. I also think it is a little hypocritical when you factor in the audience that comes to the show and the way in which it is more of an elitist group also. Interesting post!

  23. Kyle Poe says:

    While the appropriateness is most definitely at question, I do not disagree with the action of the curtain call. In this country, I feel that it has become commonplace to allow things to without any type of commentary or expression of any opinions. I applaud the cast because they have a sense of “if not us, than who” Right or wrong, they decided to utilize their voices to speak on something they believed and which affects more than just them. When discussing politics, and the well being of the lives of others, nothing can be taken too personal because it is not about one individual in this country but many seeking to live in harmony.

    • Harry Nelson says:

      No, I think it really matches the definition of a philistine, but I think our culture has lost that definition altogether.

      Coming from an artist’s perspective.

  24. Hampton Raulerson says:

    Unfortunately it is becoming the case of if you are inline with a certain line of political views you are not welcome, most of all to speak as we see on campuses across the nation. I enjoy a good political satire as much as the next guy, even when it is bashing my beliefs because it can point out some obvious flaws. That being said, singling out a member of the audience is going to far and it was not satire. It was no wonder Amy Schumer was booed and people left her show when she decided to lecture them on politics. People are going to see a show and are paying to be entertained, not lectured. If they wanted an opinionated lecture they would pay to sit in a gender studies class at any university. It still amazes me that those on the left will not come to terms with why they lost nearly every foot hold they had gained in this election. Actions such as this could be a good starting point for figuring it out.

  25. Kyle Rudrow says:

    How dare the cast introduce politics into a play about politics.

    I see the play as a fitting venue for a discourse about the contemporary American political environment. The play is about the political life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers and crafters of the US Constitution. It highlights some of the challenges Hamilton himself experienced during the early days of the United States as we know it. Unlike a private citizen, Mike Pence will be the Vice-President of the United States. More importantly, he will be working under a President who has been hostile to the freedom of the press, media, and speech — rights Hamilton and most of his peers highly valued. Trump has gone on tirades about news organizations like CNN and the New York Times, comedic parodies, threatened reporters like Megyn Kelly about their coverage, along with limiting access to only a number a news sources. As a national leader, Pence will be a contemporary to many of the founding fathers of the United States. And as a country that values freedom of speech and transparency, it has come to be expected political figures who have a great deal of power will be held to a higher standard, challenged and scrutinized. Had this have been a private citizen who was singled-out, I would be opposed to this behavior. But it is not. Being afraid to speak out, in any venue, goes against traditional American ideals and only caves to the misinformation, faux-news, vitriol, and conspiracy-driven “news” Trump has espoused sense before announcing his candidacy and is determined to drag to the White House. Pence himself, a staunch constitutional conservative, agreed that it was the cast’s constitutional right to express themselves, even if he did not agree. Yet, Trump went on another Twitter tirade bashing the cast for having an opinion and expressing it in their own show.

  26. Taylor Anderson says:

    I don’t think it was appropriate for the cast to single out Mr. Pence for to lecture him on something he hasn’t even had the chance to do. They do not know the intentions of Mr. Pence and certainly don’t know what he is capable of once in office. I think it is very disrespectful to his family and to the rest of the audience to bring politics into the theater where people paid high dollar to be entertained, not to be lectured. Whether or not what they said to Mr. Pence was accurate to his future actions, if they wanted to advocate for something they could have done so in a generalized way rather than personally attacking someone that was supporting them.

  27. N H says:

    After reading through the original post and all of the replies and comments from others I’m struck by the fact that this discussion seems to be more heated than most of the others we’ve had about the election. When I originally heard about the actors calling out Pence I didn’t catch that the play was Hamilton- it certainly puts an interesting spin on it. Ultimately I think the debate comes down to whether or not you respect a public figure’s personal life to whatever extent possible. I understand that once you run for office you lose the right to the same private life that the rest of us enjoy. I also see the point, from the perspective of the actors, that this was a good opportunity to make themselves heard but I don’t think that this was the time or the place. People feel very strongly about this election but this election isn’t special in that regard. Every presidential election engenders strong feelings – this one just happens to have more people in the “mainstream” angry and agitated. I’m sure that many people would happily call out Biden or any other previous vice-president on issues – its just that many of those people aren’t in a position to do so publicly. While artists do have a right to speak their minds and use their craft as a platform for social change I believe this particular incident was in poor taste. Pence was, as others have pointed out, a paying customer enjoying a play not in the capacity of an elected official but simply as a father. I doubt he or Trump will have many more opportunities over the coming four years to enjoy uninterrupted time with their families and whether or not we agree with their political views we should at least respect them as fellow human beings.

  28. scwoods23 says:

    I can honestly say that I didn’t mind what the cast did. They saw an opportunity to address a political figure and went for it. They stated how they felt and that was the end of it.

  29. My knee-jerk reaction to the Hamilton cast member giving Pence a “good talking to” is to applaud him for standing up against the ultraconservative vice president-elect. I am appalled by Pence’s past actions/positions as an elected official such as his stand to divert AIDS/HIV funding to Conversion Therapy for homosexuals. UGH! However, with that being said, I gave some thought to them calling out Pence in a public forum that is supposed to be for entertainment and not political lectures, as well as to your point about if the same happened to Obama it would spark outrage, and I decided that what happened at the Broadway show was inappropriate. I understand Lin-Manuel Miranda’s desire to express his views about the Trump/Pence administration, but perhaps he could have released a statement after the show instead of staging the public dressing-down of the VP-elect.

    As for giving the new administration a chance, I am willing to do so; however, Trump’s recent cabinet appointments are giving me pause.

    -KH

  30. Savianna says:

    I feel like any live performance during a time of political strain should voice their position or opinions.After all, it is free speech. It can also be very influential to the public. Now singling someone out in the audience who paid a huge amount to be there is a different story. Not only is it not the time or place to “pick a fight” it’s also not the time to turn a man who is enjoying his free time and being a normal civilian into a on duty political figure. So I can agree with the statement made about needing to probably appreciate the fact that he came to the performance. Wouldn’t survive without such willing patron now would they?

  31. Yvonne Valdosta says:

    As an American and as a person who works in government, I wouldn’t have appreciated being called out in front of everyone while with my family. However, with Mr. Pence’s stand on issues related to civil liberties, his stance has been extremely far right. Furthermore, he chose to run as VP and thus will need to adjust to being criticized, publicly, privately, in person and through the media. I think that the message to Mr. Pence would have still been as strong and circulated throughout media, had they addressed him via the Hamilton’s social media or Lin Miranda’s account.

  32. David S Pittsenberger says:

    That actor wouldn’t have said that to Aaron Burr. He may have ended up like Alexander Hamilton. Jokes aside this incident can all come down to two words: publicity stunt. This guy has done talk show tours now. All of the mostly liberal film and stage community know who he is now. He won’t have much difficulty finding more work.Sure, he probably believed all that. But he’s actor that plays a major role on Broadway, his ego is probably larger than Trumps! I’m sure he thinks everyone agrees with him and his stance. Well, at least everyone in his small world.

    Pence did the right thing. It’s free speech, move on.

    • David S Pittsenberger says:

      Forgot to subscribe.

    • Thomas R. says:

      David,

      I agree completely. I still do not know this mans name nor do I care to. However, he has managed to propel himself further in his professional pursuits by poor behavior. This is as bad a precedent as if we still dueled over honor and slights of action. I do wonder if we would not be a better society if we still thought before we acted, and did not reward poor manners/behavior due to the threat of potential death due to our tongue. Men such as Arron Burr and Andrew Jackson just might have killed him for his public address of the VP elect. They did do so for less in their lives.

      I look at it this way while he might have had a stage at the moment it was not appropriate to call out and address a audience member in such fashion. He would not like it if he were to attend a public event and be addressed and ridiculed for his perceived positions on a subject that was unrelated to the presentation. I do however know that that is unlikely to ever happen, as he is but a stage actor and of not national importance and therefore his anonymity when not on stage is secure.

  33. Susan Hacker says:

    I find it interesting that Trump repeatedly calls out people for being inappropriate, after the mud-slinging he has engaged in over the past year. Can the actors of Hamilton who crafted this speech be seen as stooping to Trump’s level of inappropriateness and making a direct plea to Pence? Perhaps. I can see some validity in the argument that the way they chose to make this statement might not have been the most tactful. Pence was there with his family, with the intention of seeing a play. I suppose it wasn’t the most fair-minded thing in the world to do, to call him out when he’s trying to have a relaxing evening.

    On the other hand, who is Trump to accuse someone of being inappropriate? All of the attacks he launched against Clinton during the campaign, not to mention the many and varied sexist and racist comments he made to large portions of the world’s population, have set a new tone for political dialogue in this country. Brandon Dixon’s speech was incredibly tame, compared to the appalling comments that Trump has made. I realize I am conflating Pence with Trump, and that Pence cannot be accused of the same level of hate speech as Trump. But Pence has thrown his lot in with this guy, and I do not pity him. I hope everybody that encounters Pence for the next four years tells him exactly what they think of him and his politics.

  34. Alisha Fox says:

    As many have already stated, I do not feel this was really an appropriate venue for this type of conversation. Why not discuss personally backstage? I do think it has been blown way out of proportion partly by President Elect Trump tweeting about it and drawing additional attention. It seemed to me that Pence handled it professionally and moved on….

  35. Sarah says:

    I agree with many of the comments above; there is a time and a place and this was not it. I understand that he voiced his right of free speech, but shouldn’t he have used his position in a different way? I feel the same way about Colin Kaepernick and his decision to sit during the national anthem to prove his point that this country needed change on how black people and people of color were being treated. I understand what he was trying to do. He was trying to use his position and opportunity he had to make his point to millions of people, but this was in such an inappropriate way in my opinion. He is disrespecting the millions of people who put their lives at risk for this country everyday. Same goes for the cast member on a smaller scale. He was disrespecting Pence’s family who was sitting there listening to this. I just think sometimes people need to think before they use their position of power to make a stance.

  36. Melissa says:

    My initial reactions was this actor took advantage of the situation to call out Mr. Pence based on his record rather that waiting to see if he truly is a good Vice President. But on the other hand, that is the actor’s right to free speech and theater is a place to express free speech. The irony is in that Alexander Hamilton founded the electoral college that many are protesting because “their” candidate did not win and this was a play about Mr. Hamilton. But these protestors who are constantly complaining need to remember the flip side of this argument. There are millions of Americans who were equally as unhappy about Obama being POTUS for 8 years. We just chose to remain quiet and wait our turn. I typically have to refrain from public comment about politics because of the position I am in. I think that all of these actors should also consider their impact and remember that no matter who is POTUS, we are all STILL Americans.

  37. Kimberly Warren says:

    As I’ve always been told, there is a time and place for everything. Although I understand the frustrations of the cast members and the use of curtain calls to make political statements, I can’t help but to think of other settings that would have made a greater impact or impression with President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence. Just as several Black activists and entertainers, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Steve Harvey, recently met with the President-Elect at the time, cast members could have voiced their concerns in a similar manner. Whether you like or dislike the new administration, I could only imagine how I would personally feel if I was called out on my political approaches, while being surrounded by family members. I think what is disappointing about the reaction to the election of President Trump and VP Mike Pence is the lack of usage of American freedoms. Americans have the right to vote but this election saw one of the lowest voter turnouts, especially among certain minority groups. Before and during the election, I was so surprised to hear how many people chose not to vote due to their dislike of both candidates, rather than at least voting for the candidate that would serve some of their citizen needs/interests. We all watched the debates or heard the approaches and policies of the different candidates, so why not use the power granted to you as an American and vote to create change. So, for those that feel like they voted for the wrong candidate or felt the need not to vote, you as well must be accountable with your own actions. As a country, the only option that we have now is to give Donald Trump a chance and to prove many of us wrong or right.

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