How Mike Pence stole the show at ‘Hamilton’

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, top center, leaves the Richard Rodgers Theatre after a performance of "Hamilton," in New York on Nov. 18. (Andres Kudacki/AP) They knew ahead of time that Vice President-elect Mike Pence would be in the theater that night. So the cast of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” reportedly gathered at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York half an hour before the curtain rose Friday evening. According to an account in Broadway.com, the cast dialed up Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s writer and creator, and Jeffrey Seller, the producer, and together they crafted a message encouraging the incoming administration to uphold America’s values on behalf of people of different backgrounds, beliefs and orientations. The audience, however, did not know Pence was there until just moments before the curtain rose. Some speculated a VIP would be in attendance: As theater-goers arrived, they saw black Suburbans, Secret Service and an ambulance clogging the street outside. As they sat in their seats and waited in line for the bathroom, they speculated whether the VIP would be President-elect Donald Trump, or maybe first lady Michelle Obama, for a repeat performance. Most of the audience members were in their red velvet seats when Pence entered the theater. He was greeted with loud boos, a smattering of cheers, and the flash of cellphone cameras. He waved as he walked to his seat in the orchestra section, Row F. Police stand guard Friday as a motorcade carrying Vice President-elect Mike Pence leaves the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. (Andres Kudacki/AP) Shannon Stagman, 32, a researcher for an education nonprofit organization in Brooklyn who was seated in the mezzanine, said she heard the crowd’s reaction work its way up the theater after the audience spotted Pence. “From my vantage point, it sounded like the entire theater was booing,” Stagman said. Christy Colburn, 43, of Boston, bought tickets to the musical as a Valentine’s Day gift for her husband. She ended up sitting about 20 seats away from the vice president-elect, she said. “It was a mixed response, but it was overwhelmingly boos,” she said. “People kept booing after he sat down; it was almost uncomfortable. He smiled, and some people took his picture. He didn’t seem that fazed by it.” “Hamilton,” a Broadway musical that has won 11 Tonys, usually provokes a loud and joyous reaction from its crowds. But that night, the reaction was heightened. “This particular show, there are a lot of scenes that are very antithetical to the ideas of the Trump-Pence campaign that they’ve been running on. So I think that was resonating with people, knowing he was in the room,” Stagman said. The musical chronicles Alexander Hamilton’s roots as an orphan and immigrant, his rise to prominence via the war, and his contentious participation in the formation of the American government. It is noted for featuring...

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