Steven Van Zandt Wants the Cast of ‘Hamilton’ to Apologize to Mike Pence
Social media today was filled with the news that Vice President-elect Mike Pence had attended a production of Hamilton, the smash Broadway musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with the cast delivering a post-show message to Pence about his policies on the rights of gays and minorities. Although he’s no fan of Pence, Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band felt that the action crossed a line and spent the day on Twitter arguing his case with fans.
“Hamilton made a mistake,” he tweeted. “Audiences shouldn't have to worry about being blindsided like that. Theater should be sanctuary for Art to speak.”
After calling Hamilton “the greatest play since West Side Story” and its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, a “genius,” van Zandt said Miranda should apologize to Pence, adding, “He was their guest. You protect your guests. Don't embarrass them. When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests. It is nothing short of the same bullying tactic we rightly have criticized Trump for in the past. It's taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home. … Nobody on this planet disagrees more with everything Pence represents. But I don't tolerate bullying in any form. Even the respectful kind.”
Following the show, Brandon Victor Dixon, who stars as Aaron Burr, thanked Pence for attending the musical, which has a largely black and Latino cast and whose titular character is played by Javier Munoz, who is gay. Then Dixon said, “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.” The statement was co-written by the cast, Miranda and director Tommy Kail.
However, one of Van Zandt’s bandmates, Nils Lofgren, didn’t have a problem with the musical’s action. “The audience had the freedom to boo,” he tweeted. “The statement was truth to power. Any chance you get to speak truth to power right now, you have to take it.”
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