More than two centuries after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, “Aaron Burr” exchanged fire with another prominent politician on Saturday.
His opponent was President-elect Donald Trump, who had taken umbrage at how his vice president-elect had been treated the previous night at the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” Trump and Burr then squared off and opened fire on the business mogul’s dueling ground of choice: Twitter.
“Hamilton,” which has won 11 Tony awards, depicts the lives of Alexander Hamilton and Burr, early American leaders and onetime friends. Their lives intersected a final time during a duel in 1804 that pitted Burr, a sitting vice president, against Hamilton, a former Treasury secretary.
Flash-forward to Friday night: Vice President-elect Mike Pence was taking his seat at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York to see the critically acclaimed smash hit, which is sold out until August, when the audience showered him with cheers and loud jeers.
After the show, actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Burr, took the highly unusual step of standing on stage with the entire cast behind him to deliver an impromptu speech to the vice president-elect on “American values.”
Pence left the auditorium before Dixon had finished his soliloquy, but reportedly heard all of the remarks over speakers in the hallway. Though Pence did not make an issue of the audience’s boos or Dixon’s spiel, Trump was clearly upset, claiming that the honor of his vice president-elect had been besmirched.
Saturday morning, Trump chastised the show’s cast on Twitter and demanded an apology.
“Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!” Trump tweeted. “The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
Trump is not usually one to demand “safe spaces” — something Republicans in his mold typically mock as a byproduct of political correctness run amok.
Dixon wasted little time firing back at Trump, Tweeting that “conversation is not harassment sir,” before adding that he appreciated Pence for showing up.
The dispute — and videos of Dixon’s speech — spread across social media, sparking the hashtag #boycotthamilton. “Completely inappropriate for the cast of #Hamilton to address Mike Pence like this,” tweeted the GOP Report, which identifies as a “conservative blogger helping to unify the USA under Donald Trump, the one person who can end corruption in Washington.”
Celebrities were quick to respond, as were liberal theatergoers hoping their conservative friends might unload the hard-to-get tickets.
“Boycott Hamilton? Good luck with that,” tweeted actor Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”). “Tickets are already sold-out past President-elect Troll’s impeachment.” Wright later messaged that Pence probably should have chosen another show to attend: “This one’s called Hamilton. About an American political leader, outspoken firebrand. Oh & an immigrant.”
Actor-comedian Patton Oswalt joked that a boycott of “Hamilton” would be greatly appreciated, particularly if it comes at the right time.
“You know what?” tweeted the entertainer. “I support #Boycott Hamilton. I hope it intensifies — especially that first week of March, maybe that Sunday matinee?”
Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels tweeted, “For everyone who is going to #Boycott Hamilton, my family, friends and I will fall on the sword and take your tickets #wegotyou.”
Wilber reported from Washington and Braxton from Los Angeles.
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