Some reflections from an unapologetic Rip Roaring Zionist, an Urban Scavenger for the unexpected. Stephen Darori is a Finance and Marketing Whiz,Social Media Publicist, Strategist ,Investor. Journalist,Author, Editor Prolific Blogger.
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Saturday, November 19, 2016
#RIPUSA Hamilton' cast delivers message to Vice President Elect Mike Pence ,#OYVeyPresidentTrump,#AmericaHangsItsHeadInShame,#KeepTrumpInCheck,#ImpeachHimNow
The cast of "Hamilton" delivered a message to Vice President-elect Mike Pence from stage after he watched the show at Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York on Nov. 18. Pence was booed by some audience members when he first walked in. (Twitter/Hamilton via Storyful)
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 zeroed in on Pence during their curtain call. Brandon Victor Dixon — the actor who plays 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.”
“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.” Vice President-elect Mike Pence gets booed at "Hamilton" show Some audience members booed Vice President-elect Mike Pence as he walked to his seat at a "Hamilton" show, held at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York on Nov. 18. (Storyful)
Pence reportedly left the auditorium before Dixon finished speaking, but a show spokesman told the Associated Press that the vice president-elect stood in the hallway and heard the full message.
The unusual address quickly went viral and drew not one but two tweets from President-elect Donald Trump, who demanded the next morning that the cast apologize.
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 Trump, who said that the cast had “harassed” Pence with “cameras blazing.”
By Saturday morning, both #NameAPenceMusical and #BoycottHamilton were trending on Twitter. The barrage of tweets was, well, nonstop. For every tweet that threatened a boycott of the musical, there was another that cheekily mocked it — or even encouraged a boycott, if it would mean a greater chance of getting tickets.
Although 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.
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.
Dixon told Broadway.com after Friday’s performance that the cast was alerted ahead of time that Pence would be in the audience, and that they spoke to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created “Hamilton,” as well as show producer Jeffrey Seller.
Sam Rudy, the show’s publicist, later said the speech was composed collectively by Dixon, Miranda, Seller and director Thomas Kail “with input from members of the company.” The text was completed minutes before the end of the performance, Rudy said.
“When we first got the call that [Pence] was coming, there was certainly a question of what we would do,” Dixon told Broadway.com, which covers Broadway news. “These are the opportunities that you die for.”
Dixon added that he saw Pence enjoying the show and hoped the future vice president would remember the cast.
“I truly believe we had an effect,” Dixon told the site. “… If you have differences, say something! What better place than on this stage telling this story with these people? I hope he thinks of us every time he has to deal with an issue or talk about a bill or present anything.”
It is unclear how Pence gained entrance to Friday’s performance; spokespersons for the Trump transition team did not immediately respond to questions by email Saturday. Rudy, the show’s spokesman, did not offer additional comments Saturday beyond a transcript of the speech Dixon gave.
“Hamilton” the musical was inspired by historian Ron Chernow’s biography, and Miranda also uses Hamilton’s life to relay the complicated, fraught story of the American Revolution. The musical is, among many things, about the difficulty of independent governance and about the Founding Fathers’ struggle to establish a democracy, despite their human flaws and differences. It is all told through a mix of hip-hop, R&B, rap and pop songs.
Like the titular character, “Hamilton” the musical faced unlikely odds for success. In 2009, Miranda and his musical collaborator, Alex Lacamoire, debuted a rough draft of the opening number at the White House Poetry Jam.
“I’m actually working on a hip-hop album,” Miranda said in his introduction. “It’s a concept album about the life of someone I think embodies hip-hop: Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.”
The audience at the time, which included President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, rewarded Miranda with enthusiastic applause — but also some apprehensive laughter. It was, after all, pitched as a hip-hop musical set in the late 1700s about a treasury secretary. Would anyone, let alone a Broadway audience, watch such a show?
The answer has been a resounding yes. “Hamilton” has been an overwhelming hit since it debuted on Broadway last August. The show won 11 Tony Awards in June, including for best musical. Though many original cast members have since left the show, its popularity has remained unfettered — to the point where the only ways to nab tickets are to enter a lottery or to pay hundreds of dollars on the resale market.
“We all started laughing, but Lin-Manuel was serious [about ‘Hamilton’],” President Obama said this year, reminiscing about Miranda’s visit to the White House seven years ago. “And who’s laughing now?”
Since its Broadway debut, “Hamilton” has attracted numerous celebrities and politicians from both sides of the aisle, including Hillary Clinton and Richard B. Cheney. (Lynne Cheney, who is a historian, told the New York Times that she and her husband loved the show: “The music was terrific. … It’s a play about human beings who achieved greatly.”)
In the past year, however, the musical has become increasingly politicized. The Obamas have been vocal and unabashed fans of the musical, as well as Miranda’s body of work. In October, Miranda and actress Renée Elise Goldsberry rewrote the lyrics to “Ten Duel Commandments” and performed the rap in support of Clinton at a fundraiser for the Democratic presidential nominee.