Hamilton’s special number

‘Hamilton’ cast directs closing comments to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence


Photo: Amanda Lucidon

Cast members perform musical selections from the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ in the East Room of the White House on March 14, 2016. Members of the ‘Hamilton’ cast directed closing comments to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence ran into an unexpected surprise when he attended a showing of ‘Hamilton’ on Broadway on Friday, Nov. 18. While the show itself played out as scripted, the cast said some closing remarks at the end of the show directed to Mr. Pence.

“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,” Mr. Brandon Dixon, who played Aaron Burr, said. “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.”

After Mr. Dixon’s speech went viral, President-elect Donald Trump voiced his disagreement with Mr. Dixon’s act.

Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!” Trump tweeted the next morning.

Trump went on to tweet that “the theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”

Mr. Pence, however, didn’t see the speech as an insult or form of bullying.

“I did hear what was said from the stage. I can tell you I wasn’t offended by what was said,” Mr. Pence said. “My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. ‘Hamilton’ is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there.”

Like many other conversations in the nation, people have both supported and criticized Mr. Dixon’s speech.

For example, musician Stevie Van Zandt found the statement by Dixon to be “beautiful” but also “completely inappropriate at that time … That statement may prove to be correct for these men in their new positions, we’ll see. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose our civility.”

While these conversations occur, everyone has to form their own opinions about the appropriateness and the truthfulness of Mr. Dixon’s speech.

Was Mr. Dixon in the wrong for giving his speech in that context? Or was Mr. Dixon’s speech automatically appropriate, as it was given in and about a nation where the freedom of speech is a core value of the people? It’s difficult to say.

All that I can say is that Mr. Dixon’s speech was representative of something much larger than itself, and we should keep this event in mind for the years to come.