First, Mike Pence was booed at the theater. Then, after the show, he was lectured by the cast. And much of the internet loved every second of it.
The vice-president elect attended Hamilton on Friday night, and once he was noticed by many in the Broadway crowd, the jeering began.
But that was nothing compared to what happened when the cast took their bows after the play had concluded. Listen to the speech of Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the smash-hit play, directed to Pence just as he was leaving the theater for the evening.
If Dixon wanted the message to go far and wide, he has succeeded. Ten hours after Hamilton’s official account tweeted the post-play speech, it had racked up 65,000 likes and 88,000 retweets.
The reasons Pence was such a target Friday night were clear. Much of the Broadway community is also part of the LGBT community, and Pence, throughout his political career, has not been an ally to that cause.
As the Daily Dot has previously discussed:
Earlier [in 2016], Pence signed a “religious freedom” law that many feared would allow businesses to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation and gender identity, and only amended it after intense pressure.
In 2006, Pence argued that same-sex marriage would bring about “societal collapse” in Congress, and in 2009 was a vocal critic of a new hate-crimes law that expanded the definition of “hate crime” to include violence against others over perceived sexual orientation and gender identity because he worried it could curb religious free speech. He was also an advocate of conversion therapy in his 2000 run for Congress. As recently as 2013, Indiana passed a law making it a felony for same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license.
From 1991–1994, Pence was the president of the Indiana Policy Review, and during that time published a letter arguing that newspapers shouldn’t hire gay reporters. The article, which has no byline, asked, “Will a gay writing on gay issues be identified as would the owner of the local Ford dealership if he were to write on the issue of Fords?”
That kind of history certainly motivated the Hamilton cast—which is currently led by Javier Muñoz, who’s openly gay and openly HIV-positive—to make its statement. When the cast received word that Pence would be attending the performance, a phone call to show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was made about 30 minutes before the curtain rose, and they discussed what the cast should do.
“These are the opportunities that you die for,” Dixon told Broadway.com after the show. “I saw him enjoying it with whoever he was with, and I hope he remembers us. I truly believe we had an effect. It was a message from the producers the creative and the cast. 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.”
Donald Trump didn’t seem pleased with the lecture, tweeting this Saturday morning.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
Which led Dixon to tweet this.
conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.— Brandon Victor Dixon (@BrandonVDixon) November 19, 2016
Either way, it’s a night the rest of the theatergoers—and those who agree with Dixon’s message—probably will not forget.