This weekend’s news cycle was surprisingly dominated by Broadway, after VP-elect Mike Pence attended Hamilton on Friday night (Nov. 18) and was booed by his fellow audience members. After sounding off about the situation on the red carpet ahead of the American Music Awards on Sunday night, Broadway vet Idina Menzel shouted out the Hamilton cast and mocked the situation while presenting an award at the AMAs.
Menzel presented an award with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who joked that he was not getting an invite to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in January. “I know how you feel,” Menzel quipped. “Us unsafe, scary theater people wouldn’t be invited to the inauguration, either. I love you, Hamilton!”
On Friday night, the Hamilton cast acknowledged Pence’s presence at their performance and issued a statement about his anti-inclusive politics; Trump took to Twitter to denounce the speech as Pence being “harassed.” On the AMAs red carpet, here’s what Menzel had to say about the situation to Billboard:
“I think they were extremely courageous, 100 percent appropriate. The theater is not just about about being a safe place but its about being thought-provoking, educating yourself, empathy, learning to step in other peoples shoes, stories and existence. If you’re not prepared to do that you need to open your heart. That’s what the theater is all about. Plus I think they were eloquent and non-antagonistic. I just wish the future would embrace the arts and freedom of speech and welcome it and celebrate it because that’s what makes a great country. That’s what our leaders should be excited about. Unfortunately things get a little cheapened these days.”