How a production of Hamilton went viral for all the wrong reasons


Earlier this month, a church in Texas came under fire for producing an illegal, unauthorized production of Hamilton, originally written and composed on Broadway by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Door McAllen, a nondenominational church in McAllen Texas, performed and live streamed the show on August 5th and clips of the show immediately went viral on social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter where users were quick to express both their criticism and humor towards the illegal production even after footage was removed by the church. #Scamilton began trending on TikTok and people were not afraid to poke fun at the show and the actors as well, wondering why the Schuyler Sisters sang of tune and King George forgot his lyrics. In addition to the fact that they used almost identical costumes and set pieces which some people pointed out as unsettling, The Door McAllen altered many of the lyrics in songs, introduced Christian values, and included an anti-LGBTQ sermon where a man preached that God could help people with their struggles, listing homosexuality as one alongside drugs and alcohol. All of these aspects were never present in the original Broadway production. One change is evident in the song “That Would Be Enough” where the original lyrics are “But I’m not afraid / I know who I married / So long as you come home at the end of the day / That would be enough.” These words are changed to: “But I’m not afraid / My hope is in Jesus / If you could just give him a chance today / That would be enough.” Most profanity was also removed from the church’s production as well. While The Door McAllen claimed that they were given permission by Hamilton’s legal team to perform its version of the show, Shane Michael Brown who is a spokesman for the Broadway show stated to the New York Times that the team “does not grant amateur or professional licenses” and never did so for the church. Brown further emphasized that “the Hamilton family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity, and certainly L.G.B.T.Q. rights. We are in the process of reviewing the unauthorized changes made to the script to determine further action.” The Dramatists Guild which is the membership association for playwrights and composers also released a statement condemning The Door McAllen and stated that “no writers work, whether they are a student who has written their first play or Lin-Manuel Miranda, can be performed without their permission. And it is never okay to change the words, lyrics, or notes, without their express consent.” Well, it looks like action has finally been taken because on August 23rd, The Door McAllen finally released an apology to the public on Instagram written by their pastor Roman Gutierrez. “We acknowledge there are lawful avenues to obtain a license to stage properties which we did not pursue,” the pastor wrote. “And it is never permissible to alter an artistic work such as Hamilton without legal permission.” Gutierrez also said that they would pay for any damages needed from their unlawful actions and they would destroy any recordings of the show in addition to never staging it again. A representative for Hamilton then announced that it would donate all damages to the South Texas Equality Project, a Texas based organization that supports the LGBTQ+ community. While many people still found amusement in watching the absurd clips online where the actors would sing out of tune or forget the lyrics in the middle of a song, it’s important to remember that it is never okay to produce any type of entertainment illegally. Even if The Door McAllen produced Hamilton without the lyric changes and Christian message at the end, there still would be no debate on whether or not the production should be allowed.