Pence had initially received an icy reception from the New York audience, with video of the Indiana governor being roundly booed upon entering the Richard Rodgers Theater quickly circulating on social media.
However, upon the show’s curtain call, the cast and crew of Hamilton, led by actor Brandon Victor Dixon, had a strong message to deliver to the VP-elect. “There’s nothing to boo here, we’re all here sharing a story of love,” Dixon said. “We have a message for you, sir.”
“Vice President-elect Pence, welcome. Thank you for joining us at Hamilton – An American Musical. We, sir, 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 hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of ALL of us,” Dixon said.
Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the production, then again thanked Pence for attending a show featuring a “diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.” “We don’t have to fight one another. The beautiful part of this country is… we don’t have to agree, but we gotta live here, baby, and share with one another,” Dixon added.
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted after Friday’s show, “Proud of @HamiltonMusical. Proud of @BrandonVDixon, for leading with love. And proud to remind you that ALL are welcome at the theater.”
Throughout Friday’s performance, the audience responded loudly to key moments in Hamilton knowing that the conservative-leaning vice president who lobbied for anti-gay legislation in Indiana was in the building; actor Javier Munoz, who plays Alexander Hamilton since Miranda’s departure, is HIV-positive and gay.
Following the line, “Immigrants, we get the job done,” a minutes-long standing ovation broke out, and actor Rory O’Malley, who plays King George in the musical, had to stop his performances several times as the audience responded to lyrics like “When people say they hate you” and “Do you know how hard it is to lead,” lines O’Malley aimed toward Pence specifically.
Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller told The Hollywood Reporter that Pence’s team had requested tickets Friday afternoon, and that Miranda, Hamilton director Tommy Kail and the cast contributed toward the show’s statement to the VP-elect knowing he would be in attendance.
“The cast, the creators, we all felt that we must express our feelings to vice president-elect Pence. This is not a normal time, this is not a normal election. This has not been a normal result. And in a democracy, one must let his and her voice be heard, and we were not going to the show tonight without expressing how we feel,” Seller said. “Everybody should be able to see this show, regardless of their politics, but it does just so happen that the politics of this administration have been so negative toward minorities, people of color, gay people that we felt the need to speak up. As a cast comprised of minorities, women, gay people, it was necessary. We had to speak. We had to express how we feel.”
President-elect Donald Trump saw the situation differently, however. “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 Saturday morning. “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!”