The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries of McAllen, Texas, was denounced by the “Hamilton” theater team after it performed its own version of the award-wining musical, which edited lines to reference Jesus.
The nondenominational church is known for using plays to reach people for the gospel. In the past, the church has done productions of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Toy Story,” and “Despicable Me.”
The hip-hop Broadway musical, which details the life of Alexander Hamilton and won 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, was performed by the church last weekend (Aug. 5 and 6). News of the performance, which was livestreamed on YouTube, made its way to playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s team before Saturday’s show.
“Hamilton” producers sent the church a cease-and-desist letter demanding that The Door McAllen remove its livestream video from social media. According to various news outlets, including Religion News Service’s Bob Smietana, producers previously told the church that they could perform Saturday’s production as long as they didn’t record or post images of it online.
A statement released by the “Hamilton” musical on Monday explained that they do not grant amateur or professional licenses for stage productions, which included the one witnessed by thousands over the weekend at The Door McAllen.
“On Saturday, August 6, we were made aware of the unauthorized staging of ‘Hamilton’ by The Door Church in McAllen, TX that took place on Friday, August 5, and their plans for additional performances,” the statement read. “We issued a cease and desist letter for the unauthorized use of ‘Hamilton’s’ intellectual property, demanding the immediate removal of all videos and images from previous productions from the internet, including YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, their own website, and elsewhere.”
The musical’s producers shared that they told the church they could continue with their Saturday performance, as long as they adhered to specific demands.
“‘Hamilton’ informed the Church after receiving a response to the cease and desist letter, that they could proceed with the August 6 performance, on the conditions that (a) it was not live-streamed or recorded; (b) no photos or videos of the performance be posted; (c) they not mount any further productions; (d) this limited permission was without prejudice, and we reserved all rights and remedies; and (e) we would be discussing this matter with the parties behind this unauthorized production within the coming days once all facts are properly vetted,” they stated, thanking fans for making them aware of what the church was doing.
The original musical contains multiple uses of explicit language, including the words “God d*mn” and “sh*t,” which were edited from the production. The church and RGV Productions (which works in conjunction with The Door McAllen) also changed lyrics and lines to incorporate the gospel message.
The line “What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me,” was changed to “What is a legacy? It’s knowing that you repented and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ that sets men free. You sent your sinless son of man on Calvary to die for me.”