'Hamilton' Responds to Donald Trump's Demands After Mike Pence Statement: "There's Nothing to Apologize For"
"Conversation is not harassment," repeated Brandon Victor Dixon on 'CBS This Morning.'
If Donald Trump wants an apology from Hamilton, he might have to wait for it, wait for it.
After Mike Pence was addressed directly by the Broadway show's cast on Friday night, the president-elect took to Twitter multiple times over the weekend to demand an apology from the production, claiming that the cast was "rude" toward Pence, who was "harassed" during the curtain call. "The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior."
Brandon Victor Dixon, the Hamilton actor who plays Aaron Burr and read the statement onstage, stopped by CBS This Morning on Monday and noted, "There's nothing to apologize for. ... Conversation is not harassment. I was really appreciative that vice president-elect Pence stood there and listened to what we had to say. Some people have said a one-sided lecture is not a conversation, but it was the beginning of a conversation I hope we'll continue to have."
As noted that night, Dixon repeated that the idea was "to stand up and spread a message of love and unity, considering all of the emotional outpour since the election. ... We are not alone, we are here together, we need to listen to one another and speak to one another. Those of us who feel like maybe their voice has been marginalized or might become marginalized, it is important to recognize that there are allies all over the place."
To those like Stevie Van Zandt who have criticized the show for using the theater to make a statement, Dixon responded that "art is meant to bring people together, it is meant to raise consciousness," and that Lin-Manuel Miranda's show about America's founding fathers is inherently political. "He's using his platform for the good of all, not simply for entertainment or escapism." And when asked if the move has set a new precedent, since a Trump protestor interrupted a Chicago performance of Hamilton over the weekend, Dixon clarified, "That is certainly not the first time, nor will it be the last, that somebody went into a theater and began to act inappropriately or stand up and interrupt the show."
Though Pence immediately left the Richard Rodgers Theater after the performance ended, Dixon explained that guests of the producers regularly come backstage to meet the cast. "If he was unaware at the time, I say to him, 'Vice president-elect Mike Pence, please come and have a conversation with us." And if the president-elect would like to attend as well, Dixon said, "We welcome Donald Trump here at Hamilton."
Pence, who said he was "not offended" by the statement, has not echoed Trump's request for remorse or supporters' notion to boycott the show. "I would leave it up to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it," he told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. "If you haven't seen the show, go to see it, it is a great, great show."
Watch the video below.