Vice President-elect Mike Pence wanted to be in the room where it happens. So he went to see “Hamilton” on Nov. 18, 2016.
But when Pence arrived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City to see the critically acclaimed hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, he was met with a chorus of boos and jeers (and, for the record, a few scattered claps).
Here’s Pence getting booed as he gets to his seats at Hamilton pic.twitter.com/IRQG68x1sB
— David K (@dkipke12) November 19, 2016
Matthew Anderson, a theater buff visiting New York from Minneapolis said the display before the show was unlike anything he’d seen.
Pence was brought to his seat shortly before the show began.
“All of a sudden it was this rising, booing, general sounds of disapproval,” Anderson said. “You couldn’t miss it. Everyone in the mezzanine and the upper levels was standing up and craning over to see what was going on.”
From his seat, Anderson heard mostly jeers and hissing, though one man yelled out, “We love you, Mike.”
But once the show started, Anderson said things were essentially back to normal … almost.
“Everyone was just in it, immediately,” he said. Though the audience did respond with thunderous applause and cheers during certain moments, including Angelica Schuyler dreaming of including women in the founding of the country.
“I have to think it was a much bigger reaction than that line usually gets,” Anderson said. “I’m sure it’s usually warmly received, but this definitely felt like it was … as much about who was in the house hearing the support for it.”
Meanwhile, news of the brief but raucous display quickly spread to the internet, where a virtual debate fired up on Twitter: Was the audience right to boo Pence?
First, he’s vice president-elect, and for some people, that was enough of a reason not to boo.
— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) November 19, 2016
And vice president-elect or not, seeing a show starring people of color about an immigrant leading America to victory in the Revolutionary War and founding some of the nation’s most sustaining institutions isn’t a bad thing, right?
Pence getting booed at Hamilton bums me out. Whatever you think of him. He’s trying to engage. Could get ideas from far worse places. https://t.co/gn7j25Nuy7
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 19, 2016
On the other hand, Pence has done little for women, people who are LGBTQ, and people of color — the very people starring in the show he happily paid to see.
Yup, the man who wants to electrocute the gay out of people should receive a warm welcome at a show lead by an openly gay, HIV+ actor https://t.co/mWLmIx3u0w
— Danielle Henderson (@knottyyarn) November 19, 2016
Don’t. Tell. Me. I. Can’t. Boo. The. Man. Who. Wants. To. Destroy. My. Life. https://t.co/BljC1E5hVQ
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) November 19, 2016
With tensions high in and outside the theater, the cast of “Hamilton” came to the stage for their curtain call and read a letter to Pence as he left his seat.
Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr (a former vice president), called to Pence. According to The New York Times, a show spokesman said that Pence stood outside the entrance to the auditorium and heard the full remarks from the hallway.
The message, written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, and lead producer Jeffrey Seller, with contributions from cast members, is worth a watch and read:
— Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) November 19, 2016
The key part is this:
“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical,’ we really do. 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 that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again we truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”
“It was the opposite of the audience reaction at the top, which felt very hostile and confrontational,” Anderson said. “It was deeply respectful. It was warm, and it felt like it was very much in keeping with the spirit of the show we had just watched.”
Despite the unifying message, Donald Trump couldn’t help but get involved as the story continued the day after.
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
But here’s what the president-elect, the vice president-elect, and all of us need to remember, especially in uncertain times: Dissent is not disrespectful; it’s American.
In the United States, we can dissent, demonstrate, debate, and disagree without fear of prosecution or imprisonment. At least that’s what our founders, like Alexander Hamilton, intended.
Those booing were voicing their frustration and displeasure at a man with a long and storied history of disrespect and outright wrongdoing toward traditionally underrepresented people.
Via : upworthy