Article Nov 27, 2016

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Steven Van Zandt attacks Hamilton stars for taking aim at audience member Mike Pence

Bruce Springsteen's longtime E Street Band sidekick Steven Van Zandt has lashed out at the cast of Broadway show Hamilton for taking aim at U.S. Vice-President-elect Mike Pence.

The guitarist has joined America's newly-elected leader Donald Trump in calling for those responsible for Friday night's onstage rant against Pence to apologize, accusing the cast members of bullying the politician.

"A guy comes to a Broadway show for a relaxing night out," Van Zandt rages on Twitter. "Instead he gets a lecture from the stage! Not a level playing field. It's bullying.

"You don't single out an audience member and embarrass him from the stage. A terrible precedent to set."

The cast of Hamilton addressed Pence, who was in the audience with his family, after its Friday night (18Nov16) curtain call at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in New York.

Thanking the Vice-President elect for being there, actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the show, said, "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, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us."

Dixon's address did not sit will with Trump, who, like Van Zandt, took to Twitter to attack Dixon, writing: "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! 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!"

Trump's comments forced celebrities to take sides, with Chrissy Teigen, Pink, and Axl Rose among those who felt the property tycoon-turned-politician's demand for an apology was a joke.

But Van Zandt sided with Trump, stating: "Hamilton made a mistake. Audiences shouldn't have to worry about being blindsided like that. Theater should be sanctuary for Art to speak."

Fans didn't appreciate the rocker getting involved and attacked Van Zandt for his weekend tweets, prompting the guitarist to add: "There has never been a more outspoken politically active artist than me. He (Pence) was their guest. You protect your guests. Don't embarrass them."