Brandon Victor Dixon ignited a firestorm Friday when he delivered a curtain-call address to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
(Courtesy of Motonw: The Musical)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, November 19, 2016, 6:01 PM
He’s not even in the White House yet but President-elect Donald Trump is in an “unprecedented” war of words with the Great White Way, Broadway historians told the Daily News.
Members of the audience sparked the battle before the hit musical “Hamilton” began on Friday, jeering Vice-President-elect Mike Pence who had come to see the show.
One of the stars addressed out Pence, the Indiana governor, during the curtain-call, expressing appreciation as well as concern from the hip-hop American history lesson.
“We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us, all of us,” said Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr.
Experts couldn’t recall another case where a Broadway actor addressed an elected official from the stage.
“I can’t think of an instance of a President or another elected official getting this response,” said Thomas Bogar, a Maryland-based author of “American Presidents Attend the Theatre: The Playgoing Experiences of Each Chief Executive.”
Writing the book, Bogar dove deep into the lives of commanders-in-chief ranging from George Washington to George W. Bush.
Dixon addressed Pence at a Friday performance of the breakout hit show.
(Burger Van Dreamz via YouTube)
Events surrounding Pence and “Hamilton” are “extremely rare, if not unprecedented,” said Bogar.
Bogar added that the curtain speech was “even-handed and respectful.”
“The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence,” Trump posted on Twitter Saturday. “Apologize!”
Dixon’s Twitter response: “Conversation is not harassment sir.”
The show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted, “Proud of @HamiltonMusical … And proud to remind you that ALL are welcome at the theater.”
Trump’s Twitter outrage Saturday only fanned emotions on both sides of the emergent debate.
President and Michelle Obama have embraced and been embraced by Broadway audiences and performers, including by the cast of “Hamilton.”
In 2009 when they went to see August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” people “were standing on top of their chairs clapping for them,” The News reported at the time.
Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were also fans of Broadway while they were in office.
Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, recalls Reagan going to “The Will Rogers Follies” and Bush going to “Hairspray.”
“No audience response,” Viola recalled. “Some in the cast were not happy, but all were cordial.”
There’s never been a show quite like “Hamilton,” which celebrates diversity.
“The ‘Hamilton’ speech was handled with grace,” said Viola. “It said what needed to be said.”