We officially call summer 22 the summer of the unauthorized music trial. (Doesn’t that come out of the tongue?)
A few short weeks after Netflix announced their costume against Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, creators of the Grammy-winning Unofficial Bridgerton MusicalThe summer of the unauthorized music trial has struck again – this time from the team behind hamiltona musical about the creation of the government of the United States, against a church in Texas who changed the lyrics of the show to sound a little more like some members of our current government.
Door McAllen Church, located in McAllen, Texas, livestreamed their performance of the Tony-winning musical earlier this week, which immediately gone viral on social networks. Besides the undeniable cringe factor, fans were also quick to point out that some lyrics were a little more Jesus-centric than they remembered. (For example, the verse “But I’m not afraid / I know who I married / As long as you come home at the end of the day / That would be enough” was amended to: “But I’m not afraid / My hope is in Jesus / If you could just give him a chance today / That would be enough.”) by Blog on stagethe church pastor also gave a sermon at the end of the show which included anti-LGBTQ+ messages.
By The New York Timesthe church claims to have received permission from the hamilton team to continue its production. However, a cease and desist letter was sent to them after the team became aware of the live-streamed performance. Shane Marshall Brown, a hamilton spokesperson, claimed that the show’s representatives “were not aware of the lyrical or sermon changes when they allowed Saturday’s show to continue.” In a statement to The New York Times, he said: “The hamilton the family represents tolerance, compassion, inclusivity and certainly LGBTQ+ rights. We are in the process of reviewing unauthorized modifications to the script to determine further action.
hamilton Creator Lin Manual Miranda weighed in today with a retweeted statement from The Dramatists Guild. He wrote: “Thank you to all of you who have communicated with this illegal and unauthorized production. Now the lawyers are doing their job. And always grateful to the @dramatistsguild, who have the backs of writers everywhere, may this be your first coin or your fiftieth.
The full statement of The Dramatists Guild reads as follows:
Dramatists Guild condemns Door McAllen Church for unauthorized production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical hamilton, played August 5-6, 2022 in McAllen, Texas. In addition to performing the show without a license, Door McAllen Church changed lyrics and added text without permission.
We support the brazen infringement of the Door McAllen Church to shine a light on the problematic pattern of certain theater organizations performing the work of unlicensed authors and rewriting the text without the author’s consent. No organization, professional, amateur or religious, escapes these laws.
No work by a writer, whether by a student who has just written his first play or by Lin-Manuel Miranda, may be played without his permission. And it is never okay to change the words, lyrics or notes without their express consent.