*Actor Brandon Victor Dixon of the Broadway smash Hamilton visited “CBS This Morning” to address President-Elect Donald Trump’s demand that the production apologize to his vice president-elect, Mike Pence.
As previously reported, Pence attended Friday’s show at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and was leaving during the curtain call when Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, addressed him directly.
“We welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical — we really do,” Dixon said from the stage. “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 this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us.”
— Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) November 19, 2016
In his expected Twitter rant, Trump claimed that Pence was “harassed” during the curtain call, and that the cast was “rude” toward his VP.
“The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior,” Trump tweeted.
Appearing Monday on “CBS This Morning,” Dixon said: “There’s nothing to apologize for. … Conversation is not harassment. I was really appreciative that vice president-elect Pence stood there and listened to what we had to say. Some people have said a one-sided lecture is not a conversation, but it was the beginning of a conversation I hope we’ll continue to have.”
As noted that night, Dixon repeated that the idea was “to stand up and spread a message of love and unity, considering all of the emotional outpour since the election. … We are not alone, we are here together, we need to listen to one another and speak to one another. Those of us who feel like maybe their voice has been marginalized or might become marginalized, it is important to recognize that there are allies all over the place.”
To those like Stevie Van Zandt who have criticized the show for using the theater to make a statement, Dixon responded that “art is meant to bring people together, it is meant to raise consciousness,” and that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show about America’s founding fathers is inherently political. “He’s using his platform for the good of all, not simply for entertainment or escapism.” And when asked if the move has set a new precedent, since a Trump protestor interrupted a Chicago performance of Hamilton over the weekend, Dixon clarified, “That is certainly not the first time, nor will it be the last, that somebody went into a theater and began to act inappropriately or stand up and interrupt the show.”
Though Pence was quick to leave the Richard Rodgers Theater after the performance, Dixon explained that guests of the producers usually come backstage to meet the cast. “If he was unaware at the time, I say to him, ‘Vice president-elect Mike Pence, please come and have a conversation with us.” And if the president-elect would like to attend as well, Dixon said, “We welcome Donald Trump here at Hamilton.”
Pence, who said he was “not offended” by the cast addressing him directly, has not echoed Trump’s demand for an apology or supporters’ call for a boycott of the show.
“I would leave it up to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it,” he told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. “If you haven’t seen the show, go to see it, it is a great, great show.”