‘Hamilton’ ignites political controversy

‘Hamilton,’ the hit Broadway musical about American politics at the birth of the nation unexpectedly took a turn to current politics on Nov. 21.
When Vice President-elect Mike Pence brought his family on a night out to see the popular musical, the Pence family got more than just a normal performance.
‘Hamilton’ is a show with strong political messages, most of which push the idea of a progressive America with a very active government, the kind Alexander Hamilton envisioned. So it was no surprise that the anti-marriage equality, pro-conversion therapy, vice president-elect was met swith boos from other audience members in attendance. Nevertheless, Pence made it clear the he was not bothered by the booing. It’s “what freedom sounds like,” Pence said in an interview with Fox news.
But it didn’t stop there; the booing wasn’t the only thing Pence received before the end of night.
After the performance, before curtain call, the diverse cast linked hands, one standing in front, representing not only that cast, but the population of America. Brandon Dixon, the actor playing the infamous Aaron Burr in the show, who was born in Gaithersburg, spearheaded the ‘Hamilton’ cast and grabbed the attention of Pence and his family as they were about to leave the performance. As soon as Dixon said Pence’s name, before he could say another word, the theatre echoed with boos toward the soon-to-be vice president yet again. Having quieted the audience with the help of supporting actors, Dixon proceeded to address 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,” Dixon said to Pence.
After such a chaotic presidential election, this so called “harassment” of Pence has become a hot-button issue. Although Pence responded to the monologue, saying that he was “not offended” by what was said, the President-elect Donald Trump obviously felt quite different. Since the performance, Trump accused the cast and audience of “harassing” Pence, demanded an apology via Twitter and took shots at Hamilton itself, calling the show “overrated” in a tweet about the incident. In the midst of terrorism, the Syrian refugee crisis and the threat of North Korea, the recently elected president has focused his attention on the cast of ‘Hamilton’ speaking to his running-mate.
Across America and throughout school, differing viewpoints are making this event a popular topic of conversation.
Because Pence was with his family, some argue that berating him about politics on a family night is inappropriate and, in fact, harassment. “The fact that his family was there is irrelevant, but it’s an awkward situation because the cast had a right to be heard but it was an inappropriate place to lecture about politics,” junior Trent Folk said.
On the other hand, while Trump and his supporters have accused the cast of “harassing” Pence and have gone so far as to start a #boycotthamilton movement (which isn’t so bad for liberals who want tickets to the show), others across the country are standing up for Dixon and ‘Hamilton,’ insisting that there was nothing wrong with the address. Dixon himself responded to a Trump tweet accusing him of harassment with “Conversation is not harassment, sir.”
Despite being boycotted by thousands of Trump-backers, ‘Hamilton’ continues to be the hottest play in the country. The show is sold out for months, and tickets cast hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. The play comes to the Kennedy Center in D.C. February.

 

Josh Messitte

Arts Editor

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