Copyright concerns lead to curtains for Toronto school’s ‘Hamilton’ musical tribute
The passion and energy Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts students have for the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is undeniable.
Even in rehearsal, it is easy to see that the multi-award winning hit musical struck a chord with the kids.
“We were in love the instant we heard it,” said Daniel McCormack, a Grade 12 Student who played one of the main characters in their mini-performance.
The musical chronicles the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the U.S. founding fathers.
McCormack said they were inspired by the diversity it represents, and the message from the musical’s creators that “anything is possible.”
“They’ve inspired us and told us something that really means a lot for, not just on the stage, but off the stage as well,” he said.
So the students picked a few of the songs, did a tribute presentation at school Wednesday, then posted three videos online.
The videos went viral, garnering tens of thousands of views.
That’s when the lights came down on the performance and the videos were yanked from Youtube, due to copyright concerns.
“We just wanted people to see what we can do, and show the creators what we can do, so I was a bit angry,” said McCormack.
The anger is because other high school performances of Hamilton have not been blocked from YouTube.
The teacher who helped direct Wexford’s efforts explained one day they’re hoping to be the first high school to get the rights to perform the full musical.
“We wanted to say this is who we are, this is what we do, we hope you like it, can we work something out?” said Bob Johnston.
A statement from the Dramatists Guild said in part, that while they understand young people’s desire to perform, using unauthorized work hurts the creators and is “…a violation of their right to control their artistic expression.”
Despite the cool reception, McCormack said the students still have a positive message for the show’s creators, “thank you”.
“Because of what they have done for us and what this show has done for the world. It is revolutionary.”
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