When Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of the hit musical Hamilton, not only did some in the audience boo him, but the cast took time out of their performance to scold Pence on “diversity.” But this is the same production that issued a casting call essentially saying white actors need not apply.
When Pence appeared in the audience of the November 18 performance at the Richard Rodgers Theater, disruptors in the audience immediately launched into booing of the newly elected vice president. The VP-elect sat through the performance but was ushered out by the Secret Service just before the ending, to avoid the crowds trying to leave the theater.
Because he left early for security reasons, Pence missed the hectoring from the stage when the cast halted their routine to lecture Pence on “diversity” in remarks written by the production’s writer and director, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“We, sir — we — are 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,” actor Brandon Victor Dixon proclaimed from the stage.
But contrary to this braying about “diversity,” this is the same stage show that recently issued a casting call that essentially told white actors not to bother applying for work on the show because no whites would be hired.
The details of the Hamilton casting call released in March read, “Seeking NON-WHITE men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for Broadway and upcoming Tours.”
When the show’s producers and staff were confronted about this seeming violation of federal employment laws, show producer Jeffrey Seller insisted that Hamilton encourages “diversity,” but that it was perfectly legitimate to exclude all white people. “I stand by it and believe it to be legal,” Seller said of the controversial casting call.
Apparently, “diversity” does not include white people as far as Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton are concerned.
But maybe re-imagining facts is not too surprising from a production that essentially whitewashed slavery from its “historical” stage play and recast many of the political views of its main subject to fit more comfortably with writer Miranda’s modern, more PC sensibilities.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.