Marty Walsh: Hamilton Performance Shouldn’t ‘Have Gotten Political’
A Hamilton performance was at the center of attention this weekend after the cast delivered a statement to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence saying they feared Donald Trump administration “will not protect us—our planet, our children, our parents—or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.”
Some saw it as an act of political speech directed a man who will soon be among the most powerful in the world. Others, like for example President-Elect Donald Trump, saw it as disrespectful and urged the cast to “Apologize!”
Now you can count Mayor Marty Walsh among those who were not impressed.
“I think it got a little bit out of control. I think the vice president-elect was there to enjoy the play,” he told reporters today. “I think it’s a very slippery slope. I don’t think it should have gotten political. I think you know people from different backgrounds go to see plays all the time, and Hamilton in particular is such a great play. I think at some point you need to let things alone, and, you know, the theater is for people to go and enjoy themselves and take what they want out of it. I don’t think it should have gotten political.”
He continued: “I think if you asked them today they would probably realize they probably wouldn’t maybe do the same thing. I think there’s times to send messages, and I don’t necessarily believe that was the right time.”
The speech on Friday night, delivered by actor Brandon Victor Dixon—who plays Aaron Burr in the plays hip-hop retelling of American history—came after many in the crowd booed Pence when they spotted him walking into the Broadway performance.
In case you haven’t seen it, here is exactly what Dixon said on behalf of the cast:
— Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) November 19, 2016
Pence, for his part, says he “wasn’t offended” by the spectacle, although he added he would “leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it.”
Dixon said today he believes he has “nothing to apologize for.”
Meanwhile Walsh, in venues he has deemed appropriate, has had no qualms about calling out Donald Trump and speaking out against statements and campaign pledges from the candidate. A post-election open letter Walsh wrote last week on Medium actually sounded a lot like the Hamilton speech, if not more confrontational:
Trump said things in his campaign that alienated and even threatened people I care about, including women, immigrants, gay, lesbian, and trans people, people of color, people with disabilities and Muslims. Those words angered me during the campaign, and they concern me greatly now that he has won. I hope Trump takes seriously his pledge to move away from division and towards unity.
The Hamilton cast had a shot to speak their opinion directly to power this weekend. According to Walsh, maybe they should have thrown it away.