This week, videos of an anti-gay version of the Broadway smash “Hamilton” that a church in Texas live streamed and showed to its audience surfaced online, drawing criticism.
According to allegations, The Door McAllen Church and RGV Productions changed portions of the original songs and modified sequences to include allusions to Scripture and pleas for redemption.
The “Hamilton” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, criticized the church for staging a “illegal and unapproved” performance of his Tony Award–winning show.
“Thank you to everyone who contacted me over this unlicensed, illegal production. Lawyers are now working “Miranda sent a tweet to his 3.6 million followers on Wednesday.
He also sent a statement from the Dramatist Guild, which condemned the unlicensed performance and said, “No writer’s work, whether it is Lin-Manuel Miranda or a student who has just written their first play, may be performed without the author’s consent. Additionally, without their explicit permission, it is never acceptable to modify the lyrics, notes, or lyrics.”
Thank you to everyone who contacted me over this unapproved, unlawful production. Lawyers are now working.
And forever appreciative of the @dramatistsguild, who support authors worldwide, whether it’s your first play or your fifty-first.
Hemant Mehta, a podcaster and novelist, was the first to tweet snippets of the performance, which revealed changed lyrics in “The World Was Wide Enough,” one of the musical’s original songs.
In the song’s original rendition, the performer who plays Alexander Hamilton sings: “Describe a legacy. It is like to sowing seeds in a garden that you will never see. I made some first notes for a song that will be performed for me.”
However, Door McAllen modified the performance’s words in the video clip Mehta shared to: “Describe a legacy. Men are set free by understanding that they have repented and embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ. You sacrificed your spotless human son for me on the cross at Calvary!”
More from the illegally Christianized “Hamilton” performed by The Door McAllen church.
The correct phrase is: “Describe a legacy. It is like to sowing seeds in a garden that you will never see. I made some first notes for a song that will be performed for me.
After Door McAllen’s performance, a preacher gives a sermon that contains anti-LGBTQ sentiments. The minister says: “God can assist you tonight, regardless of whether you suffer with drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, or other aspects of your life like your money. He wants to pardon your transgressions.”
With a sermon denouncing homosexuality, The Door McAllen church wrapped up its unlawful performance of Hamilton.
After learning about the show, the creators of the original Broadway musical, according to a representative for CBS News, submitted a cease-and-desist letter to the church. The whole statement said:
“The Door Church was not granted an amateur or professional license by Hamilton for any theatre shows.
We learned about The Door Church’s unlawful production of HAMILTON in McAllen, Texas, on Friday, August 5, as well as their intentions for more performances on Saturday, August 6. We demanded the immediate removal of all videos and pictures from earlier performances from the internet, including YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, their own website, and elsewhere in a stop and desist letter for the unlawful exploitation of Hamilton’s intellectual property.
After receiving a response to the cease-and-desist letter, Hamilton notified the Church that they could proceed with the August 6 performance under the following restrictions: (a) it would not be live-streamed or recorded; (b) no pictures or videos of the performance would be posted online; (c) they would not stage any additional productions; (d) this limited permission was without prejudice, and we reserved all rights and remedies; and (e) we would be discussing this issue with the parties behind this unofficial event.
The Hamilton family is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights as well as for tolerance, kindness, and diversity. Reviewing the unlawful script modifications is now being done in order to decide what should happen next. We appreciate our loyal followers for bringing this to our notice.”
Churches are excluded from copyright rules, allowing them to play copyrighted music during religious services. However, this exemption does not apply to the streaming or distribution of such performances or to any other public performances that take place outside of services.
The pastor of the church issued an apology on Instagram a few weeks after Lin-Manuel Miranda criticized the play’s production. The pastor, Roman Gutierrez, acknowledged in the post that the church lacked permission to stage their musical show and apologized for violating “on the rights and copyrights of many.”
The post stated that “The Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church did not ask for or receive a license from the producers or creators of Hamilton to produce, stage, replicate, or change any part of Hamilton; and we did not seek prior permission to alter Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work by changing the music, the lyrics, deleting songs, and adding dialogue.”
The church would never perform again, it would erase any video or audio recordings made, and it would pay “damages” for what happened, according to the post.
As the church’s pastor, Gutierrez stated, “I know that I have a duty and responsibility to uphold the law and inform our community about these rules.” Our ministry will take advantage of this chance to learn more about protected cultural creations and intellectual property.