American Music Awards guests talk ‘Hamilton’ and Pence

Idina Menzel, right, arrives at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Idina Menzel, right, arrives at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stars at the American Music Awards are still thinking about the “Hamilton” cast’s statement to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, for which President-elect Donald Trump is still demanding an apology.

Broadway star Idina Menzel said the theater is the perfect place to provoke thought, as the “Hamilton” cast did when they told Pence after a recent show that they hoped it would inspire him to work for all Americans.

“It’s the right place and it’s beautiful and that’s what theater’s all about: It’s about being thought-provoking,” Menzel said Sunday on her way into the American Music Awards, where she was set to take the stage as a presenter. “And it’s just unfortunate that someone who’s going to be our president doesn’t embrace that as a freedom of speech and the arts, and sort of celebrate that moment… I’m really proud of all my friends in Hamilton and I thought it took a lot of courage.”

Producer Diplo echoed that sentiment.

“People can say whatever they want. That’s what’s great about America,” he said. “That’s awesome those guys took a second to speak, and they made a story about it, so that’s even better. It breeds awareness.”

Actress Keke Palmer said the presidential nominees ushered in “a new age” with their disrespectful tone during the campaign.

“People should have a certain amount of respect for the government and the president and the vice president, but the president and the vice president and all those people should have a certain amount of respect for the people that they’re catering to,” she said. “You can’t create a disrespectful atmosphere and then not expect the people to disrespect you back.”

Donnie Wahlberg, who came to the AMAs with wife Jenny McCarthy, said he thought the “Hamilton” cast remarks were “more appropriate than many other ways people have been speaking out.”

“They were respectful! I thought they were very respectful,” Wahlberg said. “Maybe something like that’s never happened before, but I think the proper response was the one Mike Pence gave, which is, ‘We hear you.’ ”

The American Music Awards was broadcast live on ABC.