Local News‘Hamilton’ Sends Cease and Desist to McAllen Church for Unauthorized Performance of Musical

“Hamilton” denied granting a license for the church’s production of the musical after its pro-Christian rewrites received backlash online.
August 10, 2022
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A church in south Texas has come under fire for its allegedly unlicensed performance of the 2015 musical “Hamilton.”

The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries of McAllen performed the musical, produced by RGV Productions, on August 5 and 6, as reported by OnStage Blog. The producers also wrote some original lines with Christian messaging into the show.

After the performance, one of the church’s pastors delivered a sermon stating, “Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs, with homosexuality, maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, God can help you tonight. He wants to forgive you for your sins.”

This statement along with others sparked controversy on social media after some original scenes were uploaded online.

The church also seems to have used music, costume designs, and set designs from the show, which could fall under copyright infringement.

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During his sermon on Sunday, August 7, Pastor Roman Gutierrez spoke on the issue.

“So we would like to once again thank the Hamilton team for giving us a license to perform our version of Hamilton,” he said. “We did post — people got a little excited, and so we posted some footage online. We were immediately contacted by a lawyer from the Hamilton team and asked us to remove the footage. We did that immediately, we apologized for any inconvenience, and she gave us the okay to continue last night.”

In a statement, a “Hamilton” spokesperson said, “Hamilton does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church.”

“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. 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.”

After receiving a response to the letter, according to the statement, “Hamilton” granted the church limited permission to proceed with its August 6 performance on the conditions that the show would not be recorded, no material from the show would be posted online, and there would be no additional performances. “Hamilton” also said it will meet with the church to discuss the performance “within the coming days once all facts are properly vetted.”

In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, Gutierrez “said the church is not anti-LGBT and ‘everyone is always welcome,’” and that “Hamilton” had given the church permission for their performance.

It is unclear whether Gutierrez was referring to the August 5 performance over which “Hamilton” sent the cease and desist letter, or the August 6 performance for which the church was granted limited permission.

Correction: This article incorrectly stated that “Hamilton” premiered in 2016, while it actually premiered in 2015. We regret the error.

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Rob Laucius

Rob Laucius is the Assistant Editor of The Texan. A Texas native, he graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2022 with a degree in History and has interned for the U.S. House of Representatives and Veterans Administration. In his free time, Rob enjoys reading and writing, watching movies, and long walks around his neighborhood.

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