Since it opened in New York in 2015, the show – a hip-hop musical about the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and the American revolution – has sold out its whole run, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and was nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony awards, eventually winning 11.
Hamilton employs a cast of non-white actors to tell the story of the founding of America in a way that looks very different from conventional history textbooks.
“Hamilton,” the hit Broadway musical about colonial rebels shaping the future of an unformed country, took an even more political turn at the end of its performance on Friday night.
With Vice President-elect Mike Pence attending the show, the cast used the opportunity to make a statement emphasizing the need for the new administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, a Republican, to work on behalf of all Americans.
As the play ended, the actor who played Vice President Aaron Burr, Brandon Victor Dixon, acknowledged that Mr. Pence was in the audience, thanked him for attending.
“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said to further applause. “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, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”
Mr. Pence was leaving as Mr. Dixon began to read the statement from the stage. A show spokesman said that Mr. Pence stood in the hallway outside the entrance to the auditorium and heard the full remarks.
Mr. Pence made no comment and was photographed smiling as he left the theater. But Mr. Trump, amid meetings on Saturday with possible candidates for White House and cabinet positions, inserted himself into the story with two Twitter posts before 9 a.m.
"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!" Tweeted Trump.
The statement that Mr. Dixon read was written by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda; its director, Thomas Kail; and the lead producer, Jeffrey Seller, with input from cast members, Mr. Seller said.
“We had to ask ourselves, how do we cope with this?” Mr. Seller said. “Our cast could barely go on stage the day after the election. The election was painful and crushing to all of us here. We all struggled with what was the appropriate and respectful and proper response. We are honored that Mr. Pence attended the show, and we had to use this opportunity to express our feelings.”
Mr. Seller said that there was some discussion about whether it was appropriate to inject a political statement into the night, and that those involved decided to wait until the end of the performance. He said no cast members had skipped the performance to protest Mr. Pence’s appearance. Mr. Trump has not seen “Hamilton” or inquired about tickets, Mr. Seller said, adding that the president-elect is “welcome to attend.”
The show’s politics — particularly its celebration of diversity and of the critical role immigrants played in the American Revolution and the early republic — stand in sharp contrast to some of the harsh language about immigrants that Mr. Trump used during the campaign and his focus on appealing to white men with statements about returning America to “the good old days.”