The morning after Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of “Hamilton” in New York City, a debate has popped up across the country over whether it was appropriate for the cast of the show to address Pence during their curtain call.
After Pence’s appearance had drawn boos and cheers from the crowd, cast member Brandon Dixon read a message to the VP where he said that the cast hoped that he would represent all people.
“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said after telling the crowd to stop booing Pence.
“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 this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Thank you.”
The next morning, President-elect Donald Trump declared on Twitter that Pence was owed an apology by the cast and that he had been disrespected. Many entertainers chimed in about whether Pence should have been able to enjoy the show in peace, and at least one surprising name came to his defense.
Steven Van Zandt, longtime guitar player for Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band and an actor who has appeared on “The Sopranos,” explained on Twitter that Pence was a guest in the cast’s home and that he should have been treated as such.
“Hamilton made a mistake,” Van Zandt wrote on Saturday.
“Audiences shouldn’t have to worry about being blindsided like that. Theater should be sanctuary for Art to speak.”
Van Zandt continued and called “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda a genius and praised the show, even though he believes they got this one wrong.
“Completely inappropriate. Theater should be a safe haven for Art to speak. Not the actors. He needs to apologize to Mike Pence,” Van Zandt wrote.
Though Van Zandt doesn’t always throw himself into politics, the same cannot be said for his bandleader and friend, Bruce Springsteen. Days before the 2016 presidential election, Springsteen campaigned for then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“The choice tomorrow couldn’t be any clearer,” Springsteen said the night before the election. “Hillary’s candidacy is based on intelligence, experience, preparation and of an actual vision of America where everyone counts.”
“Men and women, white and black, Hispanic and native. Where folks of all faiths and backgrounds can come together to address our problems in a reasonable and thoughtful way. That vision of America is essential to sustain, no matter how difficult its realization,” he added.