Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to last week’s “unauthorized” performance of “Hamilton” at a Texas church, which re-enacted the award-winning Broadway musical with revised lines centered on Christianity and an added homophobic sermon.
“Thank you to all of you who reported this illegal and unauthorized production. Now the lawyers are doing their job,” Miranda said. wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The ‘Hamilton’ creator added that he is “forever grateful” to The Dramatists Guild, who condemned in the same way church production, to “(have) the backs of writers everywhere”.
The Door Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in McAllen, Texas, performed “Hamilton” on August 5 and 6 with lines edited to reference Jesus Christ, according to viral pictures of the production circulated on social networks. A sermon was also added to the production in which a speaker compared homosexuality to drug addiction, alcoholism, and financial hardship.
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The sermon was delivered by an associate pastor, identified by NBC News as Victor Lopez.
“Maybe you struggle with alcohol, drugs – with homosexuality – maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, God can help you tonight. He wants forgive you your sins,” Lopez says in video footage, which writer and FriendlyAtheist.com founder Hemant Mehta shared on Twitter.
The theater team behind “Hamilton” later denounced Door Christian Fellowship’s “unauthorized changes” to the production.
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“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,” Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesperson for “Hamilton,” told USA TODAY in a statement Tuesday.
Brown added that “the Hamilton family represents tolerance, compassion, inclusivity and certainly LGBTQ+ rights. We are reviewing unauthorized changes to the script to determine what action to take.”
A complete recording of the church’s production is not currently public. Shortly after footage of the August 5 performance went viral, the church’s live streams and social media posts were taken down for the second show. Under copyright law, churches have an exemption that allows them to perform copyrighted music during church services – however, the streaming or distribution of these performances is not allowed.
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In a statement to the Dallas Morning News, Door Christian Fellowship senior pastor Roman Gutierrez said he had obtained legal permission from the team behind “Hamilton” to produce the show. But Brown said that claim was false.
“‘Hamilton’ does not grant amateur or professional licenses for stage productions and has not granted any to The Door Church,” Brown told USA TODAY on Tuesday.
Gutierrez also told the Dallas Morning News that “everyone is always welcome” at Door Christian Fellowship, adding that the church is not anti-LGBTQ.
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Contacted by USA TODAY on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Door Christian Fellowship of McAllen said the church would not release any public response or statement at this time. USA TODAY reached out again on Friday.
USA TODAY also reached out to the team behind “Hamilton” on Friday for further updates.