arts entertainmentPerforming Arts

‘Scamilton’: Theater fans mock McAllen church’s unauthorized production of the hit musical

TikTok and Twitter were quick to deride the production, which made a number of Christian-themed edits to the show.

A McAllen church that staged a production of Hamilton with a religious spin is taking heat online, with observers mocking the rendition of the notably progressive Broadway musical.

On Friday and Saturday, The Door McAllen church staged a production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit musical — with a substantial number of religious-based edits and omissions. For example, during the song “That Would Be Enough,” the original lyrics have Eliza Hamilton sing, “but I’m not afraid, I know who I married,” to Alexander. The McAllen production changed the lyric to “but I’m not afraid, my hope is in Jesus.”

Other edits included cutting a large portion of one sexually charged song, and inserting an unscripted evangelical monologue after one character dies.

Following the Friday performance, one of the church’s pastors gave a sermon painting homosexuality as an addiction. “Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs — with homosexuality — maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, relationships. God can help you tonight. He wants to forgive you for your sins,” he said in a video from the evening.

Pastor Roman Gutierrez said in a statement to The Dallas Morning News that he acquired legal permission from the team behind Hamilton to produce the church’s show, a claim that the team has denied.

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

On Wednesday, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, chimed in on Twitter: “Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production. Now lawyers do their work.”

He went on to thank the Dramatists Guild, “who have the backs of writers everywhere, be it your first play or your fiftieth.”

The Friday performance was live-streamed on YouTube but has since been taken down, according to OnStage Blog, which was the first to report on the controversy. However, clips of the performance and the sermon have since circulated widely on social media, where the reaction to the production was overwhelmingly negative.

Commenters derided “Scamilton” for its Christian lyrical changes, encouraging the team behind the original Hamilton to take legal action against the McAllen church and co-producer RGV Productions.

Some pointed out the irony of the sermon’s anti-LGBTQ message, since the character of Alexander Hamilton is implied in the original show to be bisexual. Others criticized the church for staging an unauthorized performance in general.

Several commenters ridiculed the heavy-handed edits to the original material.

One popular tweet placed the blame on the adults involved in the production rather than the youth performers.

Others simply reveled in the strange nature of the controversy.

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