From Aug. 5th to Aug. 6th, a church in Texas live streamed an unauthorized and altered production of the famous Broadway musical Hamilton. The illegal musical quickly became viral on many social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok and #Scamilton was soon trending.
Not only had The Door McAllen Church not procured the rights to the show, but the original lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda had been altered in every song to include biblical references to push the churches “agenda.”
Hamilton hit “That Would Be Enough” original lyrics “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,” was replaced by the more biblical lyrics, “But I’m not afraid my hope is in Jesus, If you could just give him a chance today, that would be enough.”
The production also included a closing sermon who shunned the LGBTQIA+ community. Following the end of the performance, he equated homosexuality to addiction similar to drug and alcohol addiction as well as encouraged those struggling with it to seek guidance from God.
“Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs, homosexuality, maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, relationships,” pastor Roman Gutierrez said. “God can help you tonight.”
Several days after Scamilton’s debut, Lin Manuel Miranda, Hamilton’s original writer, song writer, composer, and lead as Alexander Hamilton, responded via tweet to questions about what was going to happen next.
“Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production. Now lawyers do their work,” he said.
Recently a cease-and-desist letter was issued to the Door McAllen Church. Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesperson for Hamilton, released a statement to CNN stating that the order had demanded any photos, videos, and audio clips be removed from the internet. This includes any social media platforms the content was posted on.
“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,” Brown said.
On Tuesday, Aug. 2nd, the Door McAllen Church apologized for the unauthorized and altered production, and agreed to pay the fine.
A statement posted on an Instagram page, confirmed by the currant pastor Roman Gutierrez to belong to the church, stated the following.
“We respect the copyrights of Hamilton’s author and contributors,” the message said. “These copyrights are protected by federal law. We acknowledge there are lawful avenues to obtain a license to stage properties which we did not pursue,” the post said.
On the same Tuesday, the Hamilton spokesperson told the New York Times that all damages would be donated to the South Texas Equality Project. The money will go to STEP to help support, celebrate, uplift, educate, and advocate for the local LGBTQIA+ community of Rio Grande Valley in McAllen Texas.