No rea­son to apol­o­gize, 'Hamil­ton' ac­tor says

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Kennedy

If Don­ald Trump is wait­ing for an apol­ogy from the cast of “Hamil­ton,” he will have to con­tinue to wait.

Ac­tor Bran­don Vic­tor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the cel­e­brated mu­si­cal, told “CBS This Morn­ing” on Mon­day that “there’s noth­ing to apol­o­gize for.” Dixon gave Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence an on­stage ear­ful about equal­ity at the end of Fri­day’s per­for­mance.

Trump has taken to Twit­ter sev­eral times to de­mand an apol­ogy. Pence on Sun­day said he wasn’t of­fended by the mes­sage.

Dixon said “Hamil­ton” creator Lin-Manuel Mi­randa had a hand in craft­ing Dixon’s re­marks, al­though Dixon said he “made some ad­just­ments.”

Dixon said that both Trump and Pence are wel­come to come back­stage and meet with the cast at any time, adding, “Art is meant to bring peo­ple to­gether.”

From the stage on Fri­day night, he sparked con­tro­versy by say­ing he and the cast were “alarmed and anx­ious” that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion “will not pro­tect us, our planet, our chil­dren, our par­ents, or de­fend us and up­hold our in­alien­able rights.”

The mu­si­cal is by LinManuel Mi­randa, who wrote the story, mu­sic and lyrics. It stresses the or­phan, im­mi­grant roots of first U.S. Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Alexan­der Hamil­ton and has been cheered for re­claim­ing the na­tion’s found­ing story with a mul­ti­cul­tural cast.

Dixon’s un­prece­dented ad­dress of the vice pres­i­den­t­elect has di­vided many, with crit­ics say­ing the­ater should be a safe place and the “Hamil­ton” cast com­ments seemed ag­gres­sive. But sup­port­ers con­tend Dixon was re­spect­ful and note that artists speak­ing out is a time­less rit­ual.

The de­bate has even di­vided mem­bers of Bruce Spring­steen’s E Street Band, with Steven Van Zandt call­ing the Pence ad­dress “the most re­spect­ful, be­nign form of bul­ly­ing ever.”

Van Zandt said on Twit­ter on Satur­day that the state­ment was “beau­ti­ful,” but “com­pletely in­ap­pro­pri­ate at that time.” He added that sin­gling out an au­di­ence mem­ber to “em­bar­rass him from the stage” is “a ter­ri­ble prece­dent to set.” But Nils Lof­gren, his band­mate, sup­ported the protest, ar­gu­ing: “Ev­ery­where and any­time you can raise your voice is ap­pro­pri­ate, es­pe­cially right now.”

Spring­steen him­self at­tended the Broad­way show with his wife, Patti Scialfa, on Sun­day and went back­stage to have their pic­ture taken with Mandy Gon­za­lez, an ac­tress in the show. Spring­steen and Scialfa posed for a photo in front of a poster of the show. She later called it “joy­ous and nec­es­sary.”

Bran­don Vic­tor Dixon’s re­marks to Mike Pence at Fri­day's per­for­mance an­gered Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump.


In this im­age from a video pro­vided by Hamil­ton LLC, ac­tor Bran­don Vic­tor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, the na­tion’s third vice pres­i­dent, in the Broad­way show “Hamil­ton” speaks from the stage af­ter the cur­tain call in New York on Fri­day.

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