Donald Trump is welcome to come see ‘Hamilton,” said the actor whose curtain call speech Friday created a social-media uproar. But the president-elect shouldn’t expect the apology he has repeatedly demanded.
Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who delivered the speech to Vice President-elect Mike Pence at Friday’s performance of the multicultural megahit, said Monday on “CBS This Morning,” “We welcome Donald Trump at ‘Hamilton,’ absolutely. I think the power of our show and the way we tell it is undeniable.” About the statement, which he said was a conversation, not the “harassment” described by Trump, the actor said, “We have nothing to apologize for.”
Although the company vowed Saturday to have no comments beyond the original statement, Dixon’s TV appearances Monday were an unexplained turnaround. He also was a guest on ABC’s “The View,” where he further explained the thinking behind the curtain speech. “When we have an opportunity to speak with our elected representatives, we must seize that opportunity.” Challenged about whether the theater was the right venue for such a political act, he answered “If people are coming to see ‘Hamilton’ to leave their politics behind, you came to the wrong show.”
Dixon, who recently took over the part of Aaron Burr, said politicians and celebrities are usually offered the option of coming backstage to talk to the cast after the show but didn’t know if that had been extended to Pence.
He said producer Jeffrey Seller called him about an hour and a half before the curtain and asked if he would like to deliver the speech Seller, creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail had written about protecting the “inalienable rights” of “diverse America.” Dixon shared the speech with the cast and “we made some adjustments.”
He said he was “honored” to represent the cast and the show and “spread the message of love and unity considering the emotional nature of outpouring since the election. “
Although Pence called it a “great show” Sunday, Trump said he heard the hit, which won 11 Tonys and is sold out at least through next August, is “highly overrated.”
“Art is meant to bring people together,” said Dixon, adding it’s “a means to raise consciousness.” He praised Miranda for “using the platform for the good of all and not just for entertainment.”
Asked if his speech might spur more audience outbursts like the one a Trump supporter yelled at the “Hamilton” in Chicago Saturday, Dixon played down the incident. He said, “It certainly wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last when people stand up and act inappropriately” at the theater.
Seller and Miranda were not available for further comment.