“Hamilton” Performance Interrupted By Boos Directed At Pence Followed By Statement From The Cast

playbill_from_the_original_broadway_production_of_hamiltonVice President Mike Pence decided to take a break from the work on the transition to attend the award-winning musical “Hamilton.” In a remarkably classless and rude demonstration, audience members booed the Vice President-elect both upon his arrival and then at various points in the performance. The cast then read a statement to Pence about fears over the expected policies of the Trump Administration.

The booing of the incoming Vice President was, in my view, uncivil and uncalled for at a performance on Broadway. I would have felt the same way if this was the treatment given Hillary Clinton. Adults in a civil society should demonstrate a level of respect and self-restraint. This was not an appropriate forum for such conduct.

I also have objections to the statement read to Pence by the cast. Cast members had already come out in support of Clinton. That is well known (here and here). The audience, particularly Pence, did not pay to attend the performance to receive a political statement — a statement loaded with implied criticism for someone who was effectively a captive audience.

Cast member Brandon Victor Dixon stated:

Vice President-elect Pence, welcome. Thank you for joining us at Hamilton: An American Musical. 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. We hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us. Thank you.

I do not view the otherwise respectful statement as outrageous and I entirely understand the concerns that led to the content.  (Ironically, we previously discussed the controversy over the musical barring non-white performers from the cast).

However, I do not believe it is appropriate or fair to Pence in this context. Moreover, the performance speaks for itself. It is, if anything, reduced in its poignancy for Pence by converting it into a type of public lecture — particularly after the rude booing from the audience. The question is what such a statement accomplished beyond a cathartic moment for the cast or audience. It was certain to have an adverse impact on Pence after his treatment during the performance.

President-Elect Trump responded with one of his signature tweets, condemning the demonstration.  Dixon responded by saying “Conversation is not harassment, sir.”   Of course, it is not much of a conversation when you are reading a statement (in front of an overtly hostile crowd) to someone who simply came to watch your show.

220px-alexander_hamilton_portrait_by_john_trumbull_1806Of course, Hamilton saw such tendencies in his time:

“Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion.”

What do you think?

Update:  Pence had a classy response to the demonstration from the audience.  He said “Hamilton is just an incredible production and incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there.”  He also said that, when they were met by booing, “I nudged my kids and reminded them, that’s what freedom sounds like.” He said that there was no need for an apology over the incident.


461 thoughts on ““Hamilton” Performance Interrupted By Boos Directed At Pence Followed By Statement From The Cast”

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/21/opinions/trump-dead-cat-hamilton-maltby/

    “As John Stuart Mill argued in “On Liberty,” freedom of expression is the freedom on which all other civic rights are based. Allow a US president to censor the language of actors by intimidation, and he’ll soon be giving newspapers the same treatment.

    “We may prefer our newspapers to cover corruption allegations than to waste space defending a few mouthy actors. But if we don’t defend the right of actors to criticize a president, the next generation of journalists will have a harder time campaigning against corruption themselves.

    “Donald Trump has thrown a dead cat onto a table to divert attention from allegations of corruption. But when a dead cat is a threat to freedom of expression, we should still be shouting about it.”

    1. EdB – since the newspapers and MSM are guilty of lies and misrepresentations is there anything in the Constitution that says the President has to take it? He certainly has the right to call them out, which he did.

    1. If you hadn’t used the NY Times as a reference and considering it’s history of one of the original and continued yellow journalism media I would have read whatever it was yammering about. But coupling NY Times with EdB is beyond the pale. Not an auspicious beginning but to throw your empty bucket of cold water on whatever….

  2. Wow that last one certainly shut down the snowflakes in a butter cup Nothing all day. Now for some literate discussion material. Not Recommended for those with safe spot atta boy educations and dictionaries printed after 1980.

    1. I don’t think that being “white” is a culture. The last people to use the term “white culture” were the Nazis. I am “white,” but being “white” is not my culture, and it’s not even my ethnicity. It’s just a vague impression of my skin color.

      1. The proper term is Caucasian. That name is anthropolical along with Mongoloid (since change do to it’s similarity with a term used by psychologist and sociologists) and Negroid falling out of use for two reasons one of which is it’s use by sociologists. It’s a derivation of the Spanish term Negro meaning the color black..

        Anthropoligy uses base terms meaning based on evidence. Caucasian was chosen because the base ‘remains’ of one branch was discovered on the slopes of Mount Caucasus in the Caucasian Mountains.

        Negroid has been scientifically replaced with I seem to recall two or three other discoveries of remains and Asian divided into different parts one referring to the Pacific Islands.

        Any good anthropological resource starting with Wikpedia explains it in as much detail as you want. Pointing the tracings of remains from what ‘seems’ to have been a center point in Africa then branching into different prime sub divisions.

        Other areas are still candidates but the Garden of Eden have been far from where modern subjective thinkiing has it placed.

        White is a color, as is Black, Yellow and Red, and Brown are not used though if the first two are valid so are the last three.

        More accurate is American or North American of European, or African, or Asian etc descent. Not terribly accurate because many South Africans are Africans of European descent.

        Most of the terms used in or on the racist and reverse racist oriented government forms have nothing to do with anything but some very long noses used to stir the pot of diversity a code word for divisive or divide and conquer.

        Anyone using those forms or filling them out is of course racist or supports racism. Simply write across the entire section. This is racist you should be ashamed of yoiurself for asking.

        To be accurate stay a long long way away from PC or Politial C-rap and consult an anthropology source. There is a move to redefine everything outside the circle of it’s legitimate study

        At this point I would classify that movement along with the secular progressive belief system as far more suspicious and much more incredibly unbelievable as the varied locations claimed by many traditional religions. They certainly have less to back up their claims than do, for starters, any of the nine or so great montheistic groups.

        So I will leave you with…

        A good definition is: “Cultural anthropology is that major division of anthropology that explains culture in its many aspects. It is anchored in the collection, analysis, and explanation (or interpretation) of the primary data of extended ethnographic field re

  3. “If you can’t stand the heat…”

    Pence seems to have taken it the way a politician should. The Donald, however,…

    1. Really? I see the Donald’s tweet as masterful trolling of the media. Look at the responses to his tweet. He got them to attack the very idea of safe spaces and how ridiculous it is. Think about it. And as I have said many times before, don’t underestimate Trump. There is method to his madness.

      1. Though, I could be wrong. There may be more madness than method. I remain hopeful and optimistic…

    1. If it had straps, I’d like her dress. I am terrified to wear strapless dresses for fear of a wardrobe malfunction.

    2. Does Melania know this other person exists? Or care? They always looked frumpy to me. I couldn’t see the value. Much on par with buying what looks in every respect to be an off the rack Haines T Shirt and paying $200 because someone in China stamped DKNY or Hollister a place famous for it’s rutabagas. Mother Gumpitis reigns supreme. I sense this thread is do for an ending…..

      Now kittens or puppies alive or stuffed are a joy to all young children and thus to be revered and respected.

      1. How true! I just got through feeding mine. Went out and bought a playpen, and had Lowes cut a piece of plywood to fit over the top. Now, they have pigged out on Fancy Feast Turkey Giblets, and replacement milk, and they are back cuddled up in a ball inside a basket.

        Peace reigns supreme. Now, time to feed my three cats who are totally freaked out about the whole thing!

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

  4. From the aforementioned book:

    “‘The greatest man that ever lived,” Hamilton said, “was Julius Caesar.’
    “As the evening ended, Jefferson reflected on the distinctions between Adams and Hamilton. “Nr. Adams was honest as a politician, as well as a man; Hamilton honest as a man, but, as a politician, believing in the necessity of either force or corruption to govern men.'” (260)

    I will have to read more about Mr. Hamilton and see this musical to get additional perspectives.

    1. Julius Caeser also brought his troops across the Rubicon into Rome. Think of that when you next review the Military’s Oath of Allegiance. So far they showed that ballots not bullets were a preferable solution.,

  5. “Jefferson worried, too, about the corruption of the legislature–that lawmakers were becoming financially enmeshed with the Hamiltonian system of securities and bank shares. Such economic ties were not bribes in the overt sense, Jefferson believed, but they did create a pernicious climate of cooperation between the Congress and the Treasury.”

    “Hamilton, Jefferson said, was ‘deluging the states with paper-money instead of gold and silver’ to encourage speculation, rather than ‘other branches of useful industry.’ Jefferson told Washington of his conviction that Hamiltonian lawmakers had ‘feathered their nests with paper .'” (261-2)

    Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

    1. How would you translate that into the context of our times in todays terminology. Disregarding what Trump and the next Congress may or may not do but in terms of what has been done and does exist.

      It’s a good exercise as one always judges the past in the context of their times and NOT in the context of our times. Likewise we judge ourselves in the context of our times what is and what could be and not in the context of the past except as a learning vehicle – the lessons of history. I’m pushing the buttons for receiving replies.

      My real question is and for you to answer – How does a musical today provide perspective on Mr. Hamiliton et. al. 220 to 240 years ago then reverse the timing can the perspective of Mr. Hamiliton et. al in the context of their times apply today and if so what actions and how applied.

      It’s enough for a Master’s or Doctoral thesis but I don’t expect that just salient facts perhaps as if you were going to do such a thesis and had to get the project approved by a competent Professor of (pick one or more) History, Government, Economics, Philosophy.)

      If you are educated in any of those areas don’t let on either way but don’t forget the impact of the modern day musical – if any or if limited to igniting interest. It’s all valid.

      1. Michael Aarethun – I am sure when the ticket prices lower, the road shows are available or the book/music are available, there will be a panel discussion on “Hamilton” And some doctoral student is just chomping at the bits to get his or her piece of the action.

      2. Michael,
        I cannot answer in regards to my quotes and their connection or not to the musical since I have not seen the musical.

        I posted the excerpts because they brought to mind TARP, the printing of money by the Federal Reserve and the unusual enrichment of some members of Congress.

        You ask good questions. I will try to get back to you with a more thoughtful and detailed reply. Perhaps hskiprob can provide a better analysis if he sees this.

        1. Prairie Rose,
          – By mid-Sept. 2008, major financial institutions were failing right and left.
          There was a spreading panic about which ones would go done next……that level of panic had not been seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
          The government’s FDIC insurance guarranteed over $4 Trillion in bank deposits….and the insurance funds on hand covered a little over 1% of that.
          SIPC insurance covers funds ( not investment losses) in a brokerage account if it goes under.
          I don’t know the total amount of the SIPC insured deposits…that includes IRA money, 401- K money, cash kept in brokerage money market accounts, etc.
          Conservatively, I think you’d be looking at $1 Trillion + of gvt.
          insured funds, plus the $4 Trillion ( at least) if FDIC insured deposits.
          The AIG Life Insurance Co. bailout was actually separate from TARP itself….they had 175,000,000 policies in force, so that was another nightmare if they were just allowed to go under.
          Watching C-Span, you could see the panic in the faces of politicians…..many of whom had only recently got a grasp on what was really happening, and what was likely to happen if nothing was done very soon.
          Financial regulators, who had generally done a damn poor job of regulating, were also panicking.
          TARP was passed very quickly ( Oct. 2001) because standing back and letting the financial system continue to unravel was not an option.
          “Let the banks and brokerage firms fail” and pay off up $5 Trillion for insured deposits was not an option.
          So the c. $700 Billion TARP bailout was passed.
          Some of those Tarp funds were recouped in subsequent years…I haven’t looked at recent numbers on that.
          If there was an alternative to these bailouts, I can’t think of what it would be.
          Short of standing back and watching a replay of the 1930s unfold.

          1. PS….
            I did a quick checked of recouped TARP funds….supposedly, it’s ALL been paid back to the govenment.
            I’d REALLY take that with a grain of salt, but that is the claim.

          2. That IS in the context of our time and follows the adage “what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

            That bill is yet to be paid. Their answer w3as the cycle of economic repression and then call it a recession or a Great Recession. Increase indebtedness, inflate the money supply, devalue the door, reduce the value of the debt and repudiate the debt to a segment of society least able to object or recoup. The elderly and retired and soon to retire. Otherwise the government caused – in every instance including AIG and GMC they were following government edicts as were the banks that failed – crash would have been corrected through COLA.

            Now it looms again.

            In the Hamilton years the nation was also massively in debt and a number of step, still available today, were taken. Two of those, along with the Declaration and Constitution became the four cornerstones of the nation. One of the latter was 300 words long. That’s the; context of the times then that was the same AND resolved instead of creating a police state or attacking directly the elderly.

            May not be enough market economy value in the source of funds I’m thinking of and that Hamilton and company thought of but it should bring the debt and the debt service down to manageable proportions.

            As Horace Greely said, “Look West……”

            Specifically on a map that shows public and private land. Makes more sense that taking a second 30% cut in buying power through contrived crisis.

            1. It’s a copycat of the move taken by the majority of the 13 Colonies turned independent nation states turned States.

    1. Squeeky – or anyone – is there a way to evict Lena Denham from Arizona. Even as a visitor, she is giving us a bad name.

      1. No wonder I didn’t recognize the name. One of those tabloid faces from the boob toob.

        1. Michael Aarethun – she was supposed to go to Canada, however she back out of that and now is in Arizona talking to rocks. You just cannot trust a liberal to keep their word.

  6. Even leftist Steven Van Zant (best known as musician in E-Street Band and as actor in Sopranos TV series)recognized that political expression ought be separated from the arts.

    As Alice Cooper accurately put it [with my appropriate additions below] . . .

    “If you’re listening to a rock star [musician, actor, painter, filmmaker, etc.] in order to get your information on who to vote for [or how to understand a political issue], you’re a bigger moron than they are.”

  7. Scrolling through the comments I’m surprised at the number of people who seem to think this is a “free speech” or “First Amendment” issue. The First Amendment addresses (originally) Congressional action that limits speech (among other things), it was later expanded to preclude government censorship of free speech.

    What Prof. Turley and others are addressing is whether or not the treatment of VP-Elect Pence by the cast and some audience members was appropriate under the circumstances.

    My view is that it was clearly inappropriate. Gov. Pence had every right as a citizen to equal enjoyment of the event, and it was classless to use the occasion for other purposes.

    1. Pence is our VP-elect and should have been accorded the respect for the office. Booing is childish and those who did should be ashamed. Our VP-elect is a decent man, having served his country in several elected offices. In contrast, when President-elect Trump was seated at 21 the others there stood up and applauded. I disliked Obama, but would never boo he or Biden. The speech was unnecessary and the cast made asses of themselves.

    2. Why it happened?
      Building on Scarecrow’s comment (undeducated etc.) If public school teachers taught the constitution, well,…. they would probably work for private schools: it’s not in their perceived best interests. I say this because a patriot would look beyond their immediate needs, a job, and look to their long term interests, a great (again) nation. Just as Washington, Jefferson, et al. risked their livelihoods for the constitution. Hence, we are not all patriots and leadership matters. So the revolutionary principals dragged much of the country kicking and screaming through the war, a thinkable reaction given thousands died! So President-elect Donald Trump did so with the patrons and cast of Hamilton et al. and the election, and nobody died. They just haven’t stopped kicking and screaming, yet, if ever.

      Again, like the election, this incident was another peaceful representation of how our unrivaled system works. I’m sure Vice-president elect Mike Pence had his big-boy pants on and probably thought of it as a thank you compared to the way his ticket was, and still is, treated by the predominant media. For example, Megyn Kelly, working for a supposedly right-leaning outlet and definitely a lawyer, used the argument that since Newt Gingrich couldn’t prove The Donald was not a sexual predator, a relatively permanent stigma, that she could infer he might be due to unsubstantiated allegations. Yikes! That’s a pretty low bar for such an incredible, libelous, and most likely false, allegation. And this was from the supposedly right!

      The Pences probably had a good laugh, I hope…..

      Note: Wrote this before I saw Mr. Pences comments, and see that he said something about this is what freedom sounds like: good for him.

    3. I concur. Besides, just because one has the “right”to speak their mind does not mean they should. Mama said there is a time and a place for all things. This was neither the time or the place. Seems it is not the “in” thing to show respect to others – even if we do not agree with them. If I had been in that audience, I would have resented the cast for their selfish rhetoric. Not all who attending walk lock step with them. Some who do agree with them would not want an elected Vice President treated in such a disrespectful manner. Rights come with responsibilities. One of those is respecting the rights of others. Oft times when one exercises one’s rights, they can infringe on the rights of others.

      1. Nancy: I’m sure a lot of people were offended by the rude black students that refused to leave the soda fountain at Woolworth’s. After all, there’s a time and place for everything.

        “At long last after decades of acceptance, four freshman students at North Carolina A&T went into Woolworth and at the lunch counter they “sat-in.” When told they would not be served, they refused to leave and this sparked a movement throughout the South. Black students in colleges throughout the South saw it on television they said “Hey man, look at what our brothers and sisters in Greensboro are doing. What’s wrong with us? Why don’t we go out and do the same thing?” And they went out, so it swept across the South like the proverbial wildfire, with students rejecting segregation. With their very bodies they obstructed the wheels of injustice.”


        While we’re sitting in oversized chairs wondering whether it was socially unacceptable for these actors and some of the audience to politicize Pence’s appearance in the theater, half the country lives in poverty, Trump has made no mention of easing tension in the Middle East or elsewhere (indeed, he’s run on a platform of heightened aggression internationally), and many suspect the US government will continue its policy of increasing economic prosperity for the few at the expense of our military during his term of office in what has been termed “neo-nationalism.”

        If the First Amendment rights mean anything, they mean one doesn’t need to account for our sensibilities in lawfully asserting them.

        1. Steve,
          – The students and others protesting the Jim Crow laws were risking arrest, beatings, or worse in a dangerous, hostile environment.
          A. The HAMILTON cast, and in particular the actor/ lecturer, risked nothing.
          If anyone was on a hostile environment, it was Pence; the cast is on their home territory, safe on a Broadway stage.
          The “protest”, or “concerns”, were not about de jure injustices.
          The HIV positive star/ lecturer is free to marry a boyfriend ( I don’t know his marital status), and has a politically correct disease fought with well-funded research.
          There’s virtually no comparison to be made between civil rights protesters on the front lines in the 1960s and a guy pn a stage lecturing a high-ranking political figure.

          1. tnash: That’s not a valid argument. Is there anything in the First Amendment that requires a risk evaluation to speak out?

            And, by the way, you’re saying there was no risk in what they did? Please consider it, and also consider their peaceful manner of conveying that content.

            1. Steve,
              Then why compare the 1960s civil rights protesters to a lecture given after a play?
              I was pointing out that your suggesting that they are somehow comparable is ridiculous.

                1. Politicians on stage are fair game. Politicians in a private situation – audience of an event, dinner, or the like – are not fair game. That is not a RULE of law. It is a rule in the book of How to make your point heard by the opposition and win your point. The actions of the Boo-ers and the cast were self indulgent actions which did not move us toward any type of understanding. It sent a message of “do it my way or you won’t get my cooperation” — a divisive action.

                  1. Dear Snowflake Buttercup

                    Tell you what. Passing the Hillsdale College tests on the Constitutional Republics, history and heritage ask again. Make sure you end with ‘Please.’

                    You cannot push a restart button and gain parity.

            2. Steve Groen – in the 19th century some theatres had a screen in front of them to catch rotten fruits and vegetables thrown by displeased audience. That was eventually discontinued when professional actors filled all the parts. Now, as long as the actors don’t attack the audience, the audience agrees not to attack the actors. It is an UNWRITTEN rule.

              1. Paul, so much so the niceties that one can hardly believe we’re slaughtering people the world over and treating half the country as if they’re widgets and shooting them if they disrespect us.

                Sorry. I don’t buy the gag order to satisfy your misplaced sensibilities.

                1. Steve Groen – to talk to the audience as a whole is within bounds. To pick on a specific member of the audience is out of bounds. The cast of Hamilton was out of bounds. It also turns out the writer/star of the original cast of Hamilton is a big supporter of Hillary. I would not be surprised if he emailed the message to the cast to be read. Generally, only supporting players would have enough time to write it.

        2. Steve,

          The young black students who sat in at the Woolworths to the cast of a hit Broadway play do not equate to the cast of a Broadway play lecturing the VP-elect on the perceived morals of the administration he represents. The young black students were demonstrating to use the same lunch counter as their white counterparts. This cast was not protesting for their rights. They were trying to use their position to hold a VP and audience hostage to hear their “lecture”. It is not as though this was their only way to be heard or that they had not openly opined previously.

          And, please note, I NEVER said the people who booed and the cast did not have a right to take the actions they did. IMO, this is NOT a matter of free speech. It is about respecting other human beings – treating them as we would wish to be treated. In “my” day, the action of those who booed and the cast were a show of bad manners. They would be thought to be boorish, ill-bred. Why else would people show such little respect for another human being? [BTW, actions such as the cast took, are not an entrée for solving any problem or differences among people. Civil discourse goes much further. They serve only the egos of the booers and lecturers.]

          Being respected requires that you also show respect for others

          BTW, do you actually remember the sit-ins?

    4. Americans have the right to question and challenge their leaders–That’s what makes America different. Mr. Pence understood it–his boss seems not to have. America’s strength is its’ very diversity–I hope all including you Wonderer understand it–it was actually quite classy and V-P Elect Pence was equally classy in her response and basically dismissing Mr. Trump’s call for an apology.

    5. The crowd has a right to it’s beliefs … to say otherwise in this case is just political correctness. The Republicans have degraded and coarsened political speech in this country, once in power they cannot suddenly claim the mantle of civility. Pence in my view is a worthless sack of human garbage and received better that he deserved. As evidence I point to his withholding of public office emails when they were so useful to himself and his sidekick in this past election. The cast in particular was very respectful, far more than I would have been. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

      1. That would be the same Republicans who are the right wing of the left? The RINOs? They only do what their masters at DNC dictate, such as caving on command. Condemn one condemn all. No hiding behind transparent fences.

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