I’m not so very interested in an incident that seems to be absorbing people so heavily this days, in which an actor in the Broadway show “Hamilton” made a condescending speech from the stage around curtain call time suggesting that Mike Pence—who was in the audience—should respect diversity, yada yada yada.
Everyone else seems to be highly interested in it, though, so I’ll say my piece.
No, this wasn’t about “an actor deign[ing] to speak respectfully about his concerns and the concerns (as he saw them) of non-white Americans to an elected official.” If actor Brandon Victor Dixon had met Pence at a party and spoken of those concerns, or run into him on the street or at a rally or even in the theater lobby or at the stage door: great, fine, no problem. Speak of any concern you want. Freedom of speech, yay!
If Dixon had said it on his Facebook page—likewise, fine. Or written a Letter to the Editor that was published in the Times—great, more power to him. Or even written a play with that theme and performed it—no problem.
The issue for me is that he did this in his role as actor on the stage in an altogether different play, albeit an actor taking a bow, and blindsided Pence who was sitting in the audience (a captive audience, you might say) as the theater’s paying guest.
Inappropriate and wrong. And that would be true no matter what the political persuasion of the actor and the elected official. I’d say exactly the same thing if the actor had been on the right and the politician were Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.
The talented creator of “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, tweeted out how proud he was of Dixon for “leading with love.” Miranda added, “And proud to remind you that ALL are welcome at the theater.” Gee, even our terrible VP-elect? Are ALL welcome to attend without being lectured to from the stage about how they should run their affairs, before they’ve even taken office? It makes me wonder what the word “welcome” means.