Audience members at the November 18 performance of the Broadway hit Hamilton, a hip-hop account of America’s founding fathers and the ideals that built a nation, found themselves in the middle of a political scene when Vice President-Elect Mike Pence walked into the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
The polarizing Republican politician who will serve as Vice President alongside newly-elected U.S. President Donald Trump, was joined by his wife and several others for the 8 PM performance of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Audience members initially applauded the politician’s arrival until many in the crowd recognized Pence, according to Ru Bhatt, a theatregoer also at the November 18 performance, who shared his account with Playbill.com.
Boos ensued, while one woman yelled, “Bravo!” Pence turned to wave to the crowd before taking his seat.
The show’s curtain was delayed until 8:15 PM. Just prior to the end of the first act, Pence and his entourage exited the auditorium and did not return to their seats until midway through the second act opener “What’d I Miss?”
Several moments took on deeper resonance with Pence’s presence. Bhatt described the performance as “super-charged.” Lyrics such as “Immigrants, we get the job done,” as well as King George’s song “What Comes Next?”—namely the lyric “Do you know how hard it is to lead?”—were met with cheers directed toward Pence.
The cast did not take a final bow at the conclusion of the performance, opting instead to deliver a speech that directly addressed Pence. Brandon Victor Dixon, who currently stars as Aaron Burr, spoke on behalf of the cast.
He explained that the cast was part of “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, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us... this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, colors, creeds, and orientations.”
Pence remained for most of the speech, but began his exit as Dixon arrived at the words “men, women, colors, creeds, and orientations,” according to audience members.
Watch the full video below.
— Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) November 19, 2016
Crowds gathered outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre in protest. Police shut down West 46th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue in response and kept the crowd in check. Protesters held signs that read, “Mike Pence. History Has Its Eyes On You. Stop Being a Bigot”; as well as “All LOVE. Welcome to the present.”
Many in the crowd took to social media to capture the scene.
Here's Pence getting booed as he gets to his seats at Hamilton pic.twitter.com/IRQG68x1sB
— David K (@dkipke12) November 19, 2016
Mike Pence got booed while going to see Hamilton. On the plus side, he's now seen black and Latino people in real life.
— Mike Lawrence (@TheMikeLawrence) November 19, 2016
Mike Pence went to see Hamilton. Crazy scene on 46th St. waiting for him to exit pic.twitter.com/4zhDKMCdGs
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) November 19, 2016
During "You'll Be Back (Reprise)" they had to keep pausing the song while people jeered Pence on every line. https://t.co/ZSIG7qnfiM
— Shannon (@TheStagmania) November 19, 2016