Church of Texas’ Illegal ‘Hamilton’ Performance Ends With Sermon Comparing Homosexuality to Addiction

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In “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda long noted that the acclaimed Broadway show was “a story about America then, told by America now,” portrayed in the diversity and talent of a cast of all walks of life which helped the show win 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.

But a Texas church’s rendition of the popular musical has drawn attention for different reasons, after the show was edited to include several biblical references not mentioned in Miranda’s original production. It was followed by a sermon comparing being gay to an addiction. The “Hamilton” team in New York also says that they did not give a license or permission to Door McAllen Church in McAllen, Texas to stage the show, thus making the show a reproduction. illegal.

The version of “Hamilton” produced by Door McAllen and RGV Productions that performed and aired live Friday and Saturday included scenes in which characters Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler Hamilton spoke about how Jesus “checked intheir, according to videos from the show by author and podcast host Hemant Mehta. After one of the performances, Pastor Victor Lopez gave a sermon in language comparing being gay to alcoholism and drug addiction, according to the OnStage blog, which first reported on the show.

“He knows exactly what you’ve been through,” Lopez said, referring to God, according to the video. “You may have been through broken marriages. Maybe you’re struggling with alcohol, with drugs – with homosexuality – maybe you’re struggling with other things in life, your finances, whatever, God can help you tonight. He wants to forgive you of your sins.

Shane Marshall Brown, spokesperson for “Hamilton” in New York, told the Washington Post in a statement that he was “not aware of this unauthorized staging of “Hamilton.”

“Hamilton does not grant any amateur or professional licenses for stage productions and has not granted any to The Door Church,” Brown said. “We have issued a cease and desist letter for the unauthorized use of Hamilton’s intellectual property, demanding the immediate removal of all videos and images of previous productions from the internet, including YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, their own website and elsewhere. .”

Representatives for Door McAllen and Miranda did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday morning. Senior Pastor Roman Gutierrez told the Dallas Morning News in a statement that the church has obtained legal clearance from the “Hamilton” team. to produce the church’s version of the show. Still, Gutierrez noted in a Sunday sermon that the church received the legal request to remove clips of the performance that were posted online to promote the show.

The pastor also insisted to the Morning News that the church was not anti-LGBTQ, saying, “Everyone is always welcome.”

The musical, based on the 2004 biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, draws heavily from hip-hop music and features people of color like the Founding Fathers and other historical figures. In addition to 11 Tony Awards and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the musical won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. A filmed version of the Broadway production was released on Disney Plus in 2020 after the streaming service paid $75 million to secure the rights to one of the biggest movie acquisitions ever, according to Deadline.

The show’s Broadway production has repeatedly noted that it represents a “diverse America”. The show made headlines in 2016 when the cast spoke to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who had attended a performance, about their concerns about the new Trump administration and how they were “alarmed and anxious that your new administration is not protecting us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defending and upholding our inalienable rights.

McAllen’s Door Christian Fellowship Ministries, about 10 miles from the US-Mexico border, is a non-denominational entity founded to “reach lost souls with their compassion and desire to serve,” according to its website.

Although large parts of the church’s view of “Hamilton” remain the same, the inclusion of biblical references has significant differences. In one scene, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s character notes that “Jesus gives me strength to pull through,” even though it’s not in the original production. At one point, Alexander Hamilton’s character is asked to pray and “receive Jesus Christ into your heart right now,” according to a video posted to social media by Mehta.

“Aren’t you just confessing but repenting of all your sins? Do you accept Him as your Lord and Saviour? Hamilton is questioned, according to the video. “Heavenly Father, I pray for Alexander, I pray that you will bring him peace of mind, restore his family and his marriage. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray.

Another scene changes the lyrics to “The World Was Wide Enough”. In the original version, Hamilton, played by Miranda, sings: “What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never see. I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song that someone will sing for me. Door McAllen’s version, however, puts a different spin on it.

“What is an inheritance? says the actor playing Hamilton. “It is knowing that you have repented and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ that sets men free. You sent your son of a sinless man to Calvary to die for me!

The staged scenes and sermon comparing homosexuality to addiction drew backlash from critics, including Howard Sherman, a theater writer and acting executive director of the Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York.

“LGBTQ lives are NOT sins. Addictions are not sins but diseases,” Sherman wrote on Facebook. “This church cannot be allowed to deploy ‘Hamilton’ as a tool to spread messages contrary to the messages of Hamilton, musicals, theater and they cannot be allowed to take artists’ work for their own purposes. “

Brown told the Post that the “Hamilton” team informed the church that they could proceed with the performance on Saturday if it was not broadcast live or taped and if no photos or video of the performance were available. published online. The Hamilton team will “discuss this matter with the parties behind this unauthorized production in the coming days once all facts have been properly verified,” Brown said.

“We would like to thank our dedicated fans for bringing this to our attention,” Brown said.

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