Actor and musician Steven Van Zandt attends a screening of the Netflix television series "Lilyhammer," in New York.
Little Steven is no "Hamilton" hater. Rocker/actor Steven Van Zandt made waves after accusing the hit show’s cast of "bullying" when they addressed vice president-elect Mike Pence from the stage last month — but his words of admonition were "said out of love," he says.
"It was within the context of saying ‘Hamilton’ was the greatest play I’d ever seen and the cast is people I adore," Van Zandt told us Thursday at the premiere of Chazz Palminteri’s "A Bronx Tale" at the Longacre Theater.
"I felt it was something they needed to sort of rethink in terms of setting a precedent because we can’t have actors addressing audience members anytime there is a grievance.
"I think Lin-Manuel and the rest of the cast forget how famous they actually are," he continued. "They’re great people, regular street people and they don’t think about, ‘Oh my God we’re the biggest stars of the world, people are watching us.’ So I wanted to put that out there as something that was a very weird moment and I just felt that everybody should be welcome to come to Broadway. And I’m sure if Lin sat down with Mike Pence they would get a lot more done, just having a conversation, so that’s all I was suggesting.”
Having spoken up for Pence, the sometime-activist had some positive words for embattled New Jersey governor Chris Christie, whom even Donald Trump is avoiding these days.
Brandon Victor Dixon who plays Aaron Burr, the nation’s third vice president, in "Hamilton," addressed Indiana Governor Mike Pence after the curtain call in New York.
"That guy’s been through a lot of things. I feel bad for him," said Van Zandt. "He’s a good guy and I’m sorry for all the trouble he’s had."
Given the Mob theme of "Bronx Tale," we asked about his own dealings with leg-breakers: surely in his decades in show business he’s dealt with a few?
"Not directly. We don’t admit that even if it happens," he laughed. "You know guys who know guys who know guys. You never know the real guys."