DLDF honors "Hamilton" cast and creative team with 3rd Annual Defender Award







On February 27, 2017, the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. will hold its annual Awards Night at the French Institute / Alliance Francaise in New York City and among the other honors given that night, an award from the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund [www.dldf.org] will be presented to producer Jeffrey Seller, director Thomas Kail, author Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the cast of Hamilton, for exercising their right to free speech by reading a statement directed at Governor and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in attendance, at the November 18, 2016 performance.


The Defender Award is given in recognition of an individual or company’s efforts in support of free expression in the dramatic arts. This award is selected annually by the board of the DLDF and is presented at the Guild’s Awards Night. The statement, calling for unity in the new administration, was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Jeffrey Seller. The statement was read by actor Brandon Victor Dixon with the rest of the cast standing behind him at the curtain call.


The full transcript of the statement follows:

“Thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening. And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you're walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. There's nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. There's nothing to boo here, we're all here sharing a story of love.

We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out. And I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, OK?

Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical, we really do. We, sir, 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 that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.

Again, we truly thank you for sharing this show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men [and] women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”

In explaining why the Hamilton company was chosen as this year’s recipient of The Defender, the DLDF’s executive director, Ralph Sevush, stated that “in the face of vituperative attacks on social media that followed their statement, and threats of physical violence in both Chicago and New York, the members of the Hamilton company stood by their statement. So the DLDF is presenting its Defender Award to the company, to recognize their courage in speaking truth to power and demonstrating that a theater is NOT supposed to be a “safe space”…it is an unsettling place where we challenge each other, provoke debate and push our democracy forward.”

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization, created by the Dramatists Guild of America, that advocates for free expression in the dramatic arts and a vibrant public domain for all, and to educate the public about the industry standards surrounding theatrical production and about the protections afforded dramatists under copyright law. www.dldf.org. The previous winners of the Defender Award are Larissa Mark, Howard Sherman and attorney Edward J. Davis, Esq.


The Dramatists Guild was established a century ago and is the professional trade association for playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists writing for the stage. The Guild has over 7,100 members nationwide and around the world, from beginning writers to the most prominent authors represented on Broadway. The current officers of the Guild are Doug Wright (president), Peter Parnell (vice-president), Lisa Kron (secretary), and Julia Jordan (treasurer).


For information about other award winners, tickets and press inquiries, including press passes, contact Tari Stratton at the Dramatists Guild of America at (212) 398-9366 x20, or tstratton@dramatistsguild.com.

Amy VonVett