Hamilton: An American Musical exists. It is awesome (despite some minor lyrical annoyances). I highly recommend it. New VP elect Mike Pence went to go see it and was subsequently booed and/or cheered by the audience in attendance, and the Hamilton cast addressed him during their curtain call and pretty much told him not to be a dick once he officially got into office.
People are losing their shit over this, people on both sides of the political aisle. You have conservative idiots calling for the play to be boycotted. You have liberal idiots acting like the Hamilton cast just delivered the sickest burn of the century that needs to be written down in all the history books to be remembered in all of its glory. All I have to say is calm the fuck down. Everybody: calm the fuck down.
As long as they got permission from the showrunner to make that address at the end of the performance, the Hamilton cast should be able to do what they want without getting in trouble with their employer, like lots of conservatives apparently want. Even if they didn’t get permission, speaking to a member of the audience is not a fire-able offence in most cases. You could say that the audience didn’t pay to get lectured by some random Broadway actor about politics; but they didn’t interrupt the show itself to address Pence. They didn’t postpone it or cancel it in protest of his presence. They did their job, and when it was over, they decided to speak up. When it comes to “activism,” this is the most nonobstrusive thing anyone could do.
And the speech itself wasn’t even that bad. I don’t agree with the notion that a Trump/Pence presidency is going to do vague bad things to “diverse Americans,” but they were as respectful and you can be when you’re calling someone out. They didn’t say anything particularly mean. The speech boiled down to: “Thanks for coming to the show, we hope seeing it inspired you to take into account the voices of diverse Americans when you’re in office, because we don’t think you’ve been doing that and we’re worried.”
You can disagree with the sentiment all you want, but they weren’t calling him a bastard and throwing rotten tomatoes at him. The Hamilton cast and the show in general are the most liberal fucking things on the face of the planet. There are lyrics about how “history needs to pay more attention to women.” They are lines about how awesome immigrants are *winkwinknudgenudge*. Lots of characters are confirmed to be LGBT even though it’s very debatable if they were in real life, not to mention the whole “all the main characters are explicitly intended to be played by black and/or Latino actors even though they’re playing people like Alexander Hamilton and George Washington” thing. This play never pretended to not be extremely biased in favor of “liberal” ideas. I actually find it rather annoying how pandery Lin Manuel Miranda (the star/creator of Hamilton) can be in interviews even though I also think he’s a fucking genius. I can think both of those things at once.
So, this act of rebellion against The Man was one of the least objectionable things liberal activists have done in response to Trump being the new president. I actually think the audience was far more disrespectful than the cast itself was. And even if they were disrespectful, which I don’t think they were, they are artists with free speech and a platform to exercise it. They should not get in any kind of trouble. They should not have to apologize for anything.
This entire situation annoys me to no end because it’s like no one in it has any self-awareness. The liberals (who are usually the ones chomping at the bit to harass anyone guilty of “offending someone” by putting their job in jeopardy and/or forcing them to admit the error of their ways and apologize) are now talking about how ridiculous it is that free speech has been met with cries of harassment and orders to apologize or face some kind of punishment. And the conservatives who made fun of safe spaces and coddling behavior and pointless protesting, are now calling for apologies and whining about how something needs to be done about this awful harassment that just happened. They said something mean to Mike Pence, oh no. Hamilton is so offensive, we need to boycott it now. How could they be allowed to be so mean?!
Let me guess, neither of these groups are going to acknowledge the irony? No?