Brandon Victor Dixon, the Hamilton actor who read a speech onstage addressing Mike Pence, who was seated in the audience during Friday night’s performance, responded to Donald Trump‘s demands that the hit musical apologize for “harassing” the Vice President-elect. “There’s nothing to apologize for,” Dixon told CBS This Morning Monday.
“Conversation is not harassment, and I was really appreciative that Vice President-elect Pence stood there and listened to what we had to say,” Dixon said. “It was the beginning of a conversation I hope we can continue to have.”
Dixon said the show’s producer asked him an hour before curtain call if he’d like to deliver the speech to Pence. “I’m not sure why they asked me, but I was happy to,” said the actor, who plays the role of Aaron Burr.
“The producers, the creators and the cast, we recognize that Hamilton is an inherently American story told by the definition of an American community; we are men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations,” Dixon added. “The resonant nature of the show throughout the world, throughout the global community, demands that we make statements when there are important issues facing us as a community, so we wanted to stand up and spread a message of love and of unity.”
Pence said he “wasn’t offended” by the cast’s impromptu speech, which pleaded for the incoming administration to protect the inalienable rights of all citizens.
“Art is meant to bring people together, it is meant to raise consciousness, and when you have a platform like that, I told [producer] Jeffrey Sellers after the show, ‘I applaud you all for not throwing away your shot,'” Dixon said, referencing a key lyric from Hamilton. “‘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.”
Hamilton would “absolutely welcome” Trump to the musical, Dixon said. “The power of our show and the way we tell it is undeniable.”
Watch Hamilton cast’s powerful plea to Mike Pence.