The world turned upside down at Friday night’s performance of the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton, when Vice President elect Mike Pence took his seat. He was appropriately met with the sound of boos, and perhaps one or two cheers.
It didn’t take long for word to get out on the interwebs, with photos and video uploaded straight to social media.
Following the performance, Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, stepped forward to acknowledge their retreating special guest. After insisting to the jeering crowd that “There was nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing a story of love,” Dixon proceeded to address VP-Elect Pence on behalf of the colorful production:
“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,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
It didn’t take long for President-elect (we still have trouble saying it) Donald Trump to put in his two cents and demand an apology from the cast.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
Of course, it didn’t take long for the dragging to begin. Fury and contention of Black Twitter, Broadway, liberals, and just plain ol’ Trump opposers who could not be here for the white tears of a man, a campaign, who THRIVED on the booing, harassment and belittling of the very people who stood on that Hamilton stage last night. Every SINGLE performer (and most of the themes) in Hamilton represent something that Trump’s campaign vehemently opposed and attempted to oppress, so it is no wonder why those very people insist on being heard.
#BoycottHamilton is now trending on Twitter. Naturally, that’s easy to do when tickets are sold out into 2018.
And of course the hypocrisy is LAUGHABLE. 400+ hate crimes across America go unresolved, but Trump gets his panties in a bunch for a Black man who gets on stage with nothing but respect, intelligence and a call to action. Nice to know what we’re in for.
Theater has always been a space for the voice of the unheard. From Shakespeare to Shuffle Along, the stage is where we tell our story. Following the results of this tumultuous election, there is no doubt artistic anarchy is on the rise. Freedom of speech is a thing, Mr. Trump. Just you wait.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) November 19, 2016
#StayWoke: Audra McDonald Gets Candid About Race On The Nightly Show
“I also feel so badly for Trayvon Martin’s family, because every single time this shit stain comes back up and he tries to gain notoriety from this horrible thing that he did they have to relive [it] over and over and over again!”
These were the words six time Tony winner Audra McDonald delivered passionately on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore”. The Broadway actress, who is still making promotional appearances for her current show, Shuffle Along Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, took part in a panel discussion. Here, Larry Wilmore along with two Nightly Show contributors and McDonald, discussed the hot topic of George Zimmerman, murderer (we know he wasn’t convicted. We don’t care) of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, and the auction he started to sale the murder weapon used in that particular crime that was soon taken down.
It’s no secret that McDonald is passionate about equality across race, gender and sexuality. In fact, if you follow her on Twitter, she is very vocal about her stance on these subjects. But, rarely do we hear the Broadway Queen speak so candidly about Race in actual interviews. There could be many explanations for this. One of them being that the Broadway community, specifically media outlets, are predominately white and therefore aren’t quite sure of how to initiate or cultivate a conversation on Race with her. Women’s rights? Yes. LGBTQ rights? Yes. Race? Not so much. This is no fault of the actress. She simply can’t answer questions that aren’t asked and there is always the chance she may come off as “too militant” if she spoke on the subject too often (re: predominately white community).
During the round table discussion, McDonald delivered her most woke statement, saying, “I tell you what. I know this much. That if Trayvon had been a white child and George Zimmerman had been a Black man, and even IF he had ended up being acquitted with the Stand Your Ground law, they would never in a million years have given him back the gun!” (This is where I shouted and damn near threw my shoe at my television, because the Truth she had just delivered made me catch the Holy Ghost. Even now in this coffee shop I’m rocking like a deaconess on the front pew whose obnoxious church hat is barely holding on! MY GOD!) Those words delivered by THAT woman with that amount of certainty gave a feeling too powerful for words.
Her appearance on The Nightly Show was definitely one for the books and her words are very much appreciated. To you, Audra McDonald, we say– #StayWoke *insert Black Power fist*!
Click here to catch Audra along with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Joshua Henry and Brandon Victor Dixon in one of the most spectacular musicals on Broadway, Shuffle Along! A behind the scenes and aftermath story of the American classic that introduced jazz to theatre directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by Savion Glover.
The Women of The Color Purple Talk #OscarsSoWhite on TheaterTalk
“Theater Talk” welcomed the leading ladies of The Color Purple and director John Doyle on its latest episode.
Now if you’re not hip, “Theater Talk” offers an inside look into some of our favorite shows on The Great White Way. Denzel Washington, Taye Diggs, Anika Noni Rose, and many more have all been guests on the CUNY sponsored show. So we were thrilled to see the stars of one of this seasons’ hottest shows in attendance.
When the production airs peep JHUD’s shirt. I couldn’t help but notice that she boldly states “Not Bossy, But The Boss” across her chest, as if to foreshadow the aura and power of her presence during the interview.
We see you, Jennifer!
Now let me be clear. There is no sign of attitude, but rather an air of confidence. She uses this confidence to advocate and weigh in on #OscarsSoWhite and calls for change in diversity in the arts.
The Grammy and Oscar winner gives example after example of the lack of inclusion in Hollywood, finally concluding,“We’re all here, we’re all in it and our art reflects that. Why isn’t it all acknowledged?”
Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks were in agreement, nodding their heads in unison and providing commentary authoritatively. And as for hosts, Michael Ridel and Susan Haskins… they sat back yielding to the expressive black voices.
Broadway debut or not, Hudson is a boss– truly speaking as a woman who has found her voice on the stage and is using it as a platform for change. But let us not forget the power and support provided by Erivo and Brooks.
These three women remind me that we’re really lucky this season. Broadway is full of powerful Queens.
Tune into this episode on WLIW-21 Monday, February 29 at 5:30 PM. Episodes are also available on Youtube and HERE.
UPDATE: Watch the episode below