On Monday, the San Antonio Express-News reported that a South Texas church is putting on an unauthorized knockoff production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit Broadway musical "Hamilton" — complete with added-in religious proselytizing and attacks on LGBTQ people.
"The 'Hamilton' team in New York also says it did not give a license or permission to the Door McAllen church in McAllen, Tex., to stage the performance, thus making the show an illegal reproduction," reported Timothy Bella. "The version of 'Hamilton' produced by the Door McAllen and RGV Productions that was performed and live-streamed Friday and Saturday included scenes in which the characters Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler Hamilton talked about how Jesus 'saved' them, according to videos of the show from author and podcast host Hemant Mehta. After one of the performances, Pastor Victor Lopez gave a sermon with language that compared being gay to alcohol and drug addiction, according to the OnStage Blog, the first to report about the show."
"[God] knows exactly what you've gone through," said Lopez in the sermon, which was caught on video. "You've gone through maybe broken marriages. 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."
According to the report, senior pastor Roman Gutierrez claimed to the Dallas Morning News that the church had acquired legal permission for the show. However, Hamilton spokesman Shane Marshall Brown appeared to contradict this, telling The Washington Post, "Hamilton does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church. 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."
Hamilton took musical theater by storm when it first debuted in 2015, winning 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy, and a drama Pulitzer Prize. A dramatized account of America's founding era, the show is renowned for its diversity and for drawing on hip-hop music.
Republican commentators have sometimes butted heads with the cast of the show. When Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the show, criticized Mike Pence in 2016, Fox's Jeanine Pirro raged at him on air, demanding that he stick to "hip-hop and dancing around the stage."