The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!
As someone who is a fan of both Mike Pence (despite holding serious disagreements on some issues) and 'Hamilton' (regardless of the performers' apparent political views), this whole episode attracted my attention as reports of the confrontation spilled onto social media. My initial (and still overall) reaction was similar to Pence's: A virtual shrug. After all, booing is a grand New York tradition:
But audience members disrupting the performance and forcing stoppages during musical numbers in order to vent fury over an election result is appalling conduct, especially for reasons noted in the tweet embedded immediately above.
Many of the rich, liberal New Yorkers in that theater no doubt relished the opportunity to experience political catharsis and "speak truth to power," as they'd self-congratulatingly frame it. But other theatergoers were Trump/Pence supporters, or merely ambivalent observers just trying to enjoy the hottest show on the planet.
It's a shame that they had their experience marred by these selfish partisans.
Some will argue 'but Pence deserved it!' My retort to that line of thinking is here.
Others will argue that it was totally out of line for the cast to deliver a political message to Pence at the end of the production, given the circumstances and context.
How many of these same critics cheered Dr. Ben Carson's famous in-person admonishment of President Obama from the rostrum of the National Prayer Breakfast a few years back?
Not only do I disdain the politicized life in general, Americans who respect our nation's founding should celebrate this musical. It is both a spectacular work of artistic genius and an inspiring, moving tribute to the courageous men who launched the American experiment. It is an unabashedly pro-America show that has made a bunch of dead guys suddenly relevant and cool again.
Students are learning about the statesmanship and sacrifice of towering historical American figures. They're discovering the contours of the cabinet battles that shaped the direction of our fledgling republic from its earliest days. They're memorizing lengthy passages of Washington's farewell address, and laughing at tyranny in the form of King George III's snotty, effete character.
People are understandably riled up by what happened on Friday night (bulletin: Manhattanites and musical theater performers aren't necessarily big Republicans).
But it would be a mistake to reject this beacon of culturally-accessible gratitude for our founders because of a fleeting partisan controversy.