Saturday, November 19, 2016

VP Elect Mike Pence Booed and Lectured at Hamilton Performance

The Chicks on the Right have reported a story recently about Vice President Elect Mike Pence being jeered and booed while attempting to enjoy a performance of the smash Broadway musical Hamilton. According to their newest writer, Kimber, Pence was booed and jeered by most of the audience and cheered by others throughout the performance. According to her sources, links to which can be found here, during the reprise of "You'll be Back" the actors were forced to pause the song several times because of the unruly behavior of the audience. To top things off, at the end of the show, the actors themselves got in on the act of singling out the Vice President Elect by proceeding to politely lecture Pence about how to do the job for which he was elected. Here's the video:



The actor who spoke, for his part, was polite, but when reading between the lines, it's obviously something of a finger wagging lecture he's giving Pence. But, this isn't a question of politics. This, for me, is more about theater etiquette than anything else.

I have been an avid theater goer and community theater actor since 1999, when my mother and I saw a high school production of Hello, Dolly my Freshman year. That was when the seed my mother planted in me as a child through constant lecturing about Shakespeare began to grow into a real passion for the stage, and three years later I would take the stage as Johnathon Brewster in a production of Arsenic and Old Lace. It is for this reason that I'm about to say the things that follow:

This was horrible theater etiquette, on both the part of the audience and the actors. People do not go to see a Broadway play in order to be singled out and lectured about how to do their jobs, and they certainly don't go to be sneered at or jeered by the rest of the audience. Mike Pence, whatever his political or personal opinions about things, is just as American as anyone else in that theater, and I am more than willing to bet that nobody in that theater paid to be lectured like a five-year-old with his hand in the cookie jar. Whatever your political opinions, NO ONE deserves to be treated like that.

Why did the actors feel the need to do this, exactly? I really want to know. The Vice President's function in government is limited to stepping in if the president becomes incapacitated to the point where he can't perform his duties as President of the United States. Other than that, Pence has the completely optional job of presiding over the Senate, but that job is only necessary when the body is deadlocked and a tie needs to be broken. With the Republican's majority in Congress being what it is, I don't see the need for him to break very many ties in the near future. 

I can guess why the audience members decided to boo him, though. New York is heavily liberal, thanks to New York City housing the majority of the state's population, and that population being a left-leaning collection of individuals. Hillary Clinton won New York in the election as well, and was Senator of New York for a while. It makes sense that she would have a lot of supporters there. This does not, however, make their behavior any less childish or infantile. I can imagine that if it had been Joe Biden in the audience, and the actors had decided to lecture HIM about it, people would be u pin arms. There would be calls of "disrespect" and "unprofessional behavior" from sea to shining sea and back again. And rightly so. This kind of behavior is not acceptable no matter who your VP or President is, and this audience and those actors really should have known better. Especially the actors. 

That said, I'm still hoping to one day be able to afford to see Phantom on Broadway one of these days.