When Riane Leonard finished running the lights for Friday’s performance of The Toxic Avenger at Hamilton Theatre Inc., she checked her phone and saw reams of notifications.
Leonard, who is a member of the theatre company’s production team, also manages the Twitter account for the theatre company based on MacNab Street North in Hamilton, Ont.
“Oh, this is great!” she thought. “People are tweeting about the show.”
But the first tweet she saw was alarming. “The first one was something like, ‘I’m never supporting Hamilton Theatre again!'”
Leonard had a moment of panic. “Oh sweet God, what did we do that was so wrong?” she asked herself.
It didn’t take long to piece together what happened.
The Twitter account for the theatre company in Hamilton, the city in southern Ontario, was being mistaken for the account for Hamilton, the Broadway musical.
Cast confronts Pence
The tweets were in reaction to an incident last week in which U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed by audience members at a performance, then addressed personally by the cast members of the Tony award-winning musical.
Actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, America’s third vice-president, told Pence that the cast, which has won praise for its diversity, was concerned about a government led by Donald Trump.
Burr’s comments created a flood of online reaction, some in favour of Pence, others defending the cast’s move. And some of that reaction pinged Leonard’s phone.
“They’ve been calling to boycott Hamilton and stage protests but little do they know that they are picking on Hamilton, Ontario’s oldest musical theatre company,” Leonard said.
“None of them have bothered to actually look at our account to see that they are wrong.”
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!
Mistook theatre company for hit musical
When Trump supporters expressed disdain for the cast’s actions, they accidentally tagged Hamilton Theatre Inc. instead of Hamilton, the musical.
Leonard has also received notifications from supporters of the cast’s message.
Completely disrespectful @HamiltonTheatre there’s a place time … cancelling my plans to see this play
‘Opportunity’ to voice concerns
Leonard said she personally supports the cast’s move.
“They had an opportunity to have their voice heard by someone who is very high up in their government,” she said. “I think it would’ve been a missed opportunity if not.”
She said she was surprised to see that those who sent the messages didn’t do their homework before sending the missives to a Canadian theatre company.
“You’re funneling it to the wrong person, guys,” she said. “All you need to do is check our profile to see we’re not even in the same country.”
But she’s glad if the mix-up resulted in a few less vitriolic tweets sent to the Hamilton cast.
“If we helped take any of the heat off our friends on Broadway, we’re here to help.”
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