‘Hamilton’ team responds to Texas church’s unauthorized performance

Aug 9, 2022, 7:27 PM
A Texas church performed "Hamilton" this weekend, but the team behind the Tony-award winning produc...
A Texas church performed "Hamilton" this weekend, but the team behind the Tony-award winning production says it shouldn't have happened. (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images via CNN)
(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — A Texas church performed “Hamilton” this weekend, but the team behind the Tony-award winning production says it shouldn’t have happened.

“‘Hamilton’ does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church,” Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesperson for “Hamilton,” said in a statement to CNN on Monday.

Officials behind the musical were not aware of the “unauthorized staging” until the day after the church’s first of two scheduled performances and sent a cease-and-desist letter, the spokesperson added.

The Door, a church in McAllen, a town in South Texas, was allowed to continue with its planned second performance, with conditions, among them that the show would not be live streamed, recorded or shared on social media in photo or video form, according to the statement.

The Door performed “Hamilton” on Aug. 5 and 6 with edited content that included lyrical references to Jesus and Christianity throughout, according to footage of the production shared on social media. A sermon reportedly delivered to the audience also compared homosexuality to drug addiction, according to video.

In an additional statement provided to CNN late Monday, the spokesperson said they were not aware “of the extensive changes to the show or that there would be a sermon at the end” when they allowed Saturday’s performance to move forward.

“We have reserved all of our rights and are considering how to proceed based upon what we’ve learned,” the spokesperson’s statement said. “The Hamilton family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity and certainly LGBTQ+ rights. We are in the process of reviewing the unauthorized changes made to the script to determine further action.”

CNN’s attempts to reach The Door for comment over the weekend and on Monday have gone unanswered.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony, Grammy and Emmy-winning smash that retells the tale of the “10-dollar founding father” Alexander Hamilton and his contemporaries with a cast mostly comprised of people of color.

It won both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony for best musical, and its producers have launched productions on Broadway, in Chicago and in San Francisco, among other cities, not counting its multiple touring companies. It is not available for licensing to theater companies.

Per copyright law, churches do have an exemption that allows them to perform copyrighted music during religious services but that exemption does not allow for streaming or distribution of those performances and does not extend to any other public performances outside of service.

Much of the footage from the church’s first “Hamilton” performance was scrubbed from The Door’s social media accounts, per the production’s cease-and-desist request. But some clips were preserved online and shared by Hemant Mehta, a writer and atheist advocate.

In one clip, a character appears to read from the Bible while Hamilton is in crisis. The character tells him that “God is the only one that can help you right now.”

In another clip, an actor playing Eliza Schuyler sings “My hope is in Jesus. If you could just give him a chance today, that would be enough.”

Other footage shared by Mehta reportedly shows The Door pastor Victor Lopez addressing the audience on stage, with “Hamilton” sets behind him, and he says: “Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs, homosexuality. Maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, relationships — God can help you tonight.”

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and famously used his 2016 Tony Awards acceptance speech to read a sonnet that addressed the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that killed 50 people hours before the award show.

Miranda has not individually commented on the unauthorized production.

CNN has attempted to reach Lopez for comment.

Some arts critics who weren’t attached to “Hamilton” took issue with the McAllen church’s unauthorized production and the changes to its text.

Howard Sherman, an arts administrator and writer who was one of the first users to widely share news of the production, said the rights of the artists behind “Hamilton” had been violated.

“The work of Lin Manuel [sic], Tommy Kail, Alex Lacamoire, Andy Blankenbuehler, David Korins and others cannot be taken for free or manipulated to send other messages,” he wrote. “I respect all faiths, but I cannot respect The Door McAllen for stealing material to serve their own purposes.”

The statement from the spokesperson for “Hamilton” thanked the show’s “devoted fans” for “bringing this to our attention.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 11: Rihanna poses for a picture as she celebrates her beauty bra...
JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer

Rihanna to headline the next Super Bowl halftime show

Rihanna is set to star in February’s Super Bowl halftime show.
2 days ago
John Cena has completed a new accomplishment: breaking the world record for most wishes granted thr...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

John Cena breaks Make-A-Wish record after granting 650 wishes

Actor, wrestling legend, and perpetual meme subject John Cena has completed a new accomplishment: breaking the world record for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
3 days ago
Courtesy 20th Century Studios
23 Sep 22...
Jason Carroll and Lisa Respers France, CNN

James Cameron says ‘Avatar 2’ is ‘more emotional’ than the original

James Cameron spoke to the differences of the new film.
4 days ago
Eliza Pace

Iconic Stranger Things house for sale

A home for sale might look familiar to fans of the Netflix original series, "Stranger Things." 
4 days ago
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: Marilyn Manson attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party ho...
ANDREW DALTON, AP Entertainment Writer

Marilyn Manson sex assault investigation goes to prosecutors

Detectives have handed prosecutors the results of their 19-month investigation into sex assault allegations against Marilyn Manson.
7 days ago
FILE: Post Malone (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Bud Light)...
Michelle Watson, David Williams and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Post Malone suffers bruised ribs after falling through a hole on stage in St. Louis

Rapper Post Malone suffered a fall and bruised his ribs on Saturday when he fell through an opening in the stage during his performance in St. Louis.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
‘Hamilton’ team responds to Texas church’s unauthorized performance