Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to last week’s “unauthorized” performances of “Hamilton” at a Texas church, which reenacted the award-winning Broadway musical with revised, Christian-centric lines and an added homophobic sermon.
“Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production. Now lawyers do their work,” Miranda wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
The “Hamilton” creator added that he was “always grateful” to The Dramatists Guild, who similarly condemned the church’s production, for “(having) the backs of writers everywhere.”
The Door Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in McAllen, Texas, performed “Hamilton” on Aug. 5 and 6 with edited lines to reference Jesus Christ, according to viral footage of the production circulated over social media. A sermon was also added to the production in which a speaker likened homosexuality to drug addiction, alcoholism and financial struggles.
The sermon was delivered by an associate pastor, who NBC News identified as Victor Lopez.
“Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs – with homosexuality – maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, God can help you tonight. He wants to forgive you for 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 the Door Christian Fellowship’s “unauthorized changes” to the production.
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“We issued a cease-and-desist letter for the unauthorized use of Hamilton’s intellectual property, demanding the immediate removal of all videos and images from 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 Tuesday statement.
Brown added that, “The Hamilton family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity and certainly LGBTQ+ rights. We are in the process of reviewing the unauthorized changes made to the script to determine further action.”
A full recording of the church’s production is not currently public. Shortly after footage of the Aug. 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 religious services – however, streaming or distribution of these performances is not permitted.
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In a statement to the Dallas Morning News, senior pastor at the Door Christian Fellowship Roman Gutierrez said that he acquired 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 any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church,” Brown stated to USA TODAY on Tuesday.
Gutierrez also told the Dallas Morning News that “everyone is always welcome” at the Door Christian Fellowship, adding that the church is not anti-LGBTQ.
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When contacted by USA TODAY on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Door Christian Fellowship of McAllen said the church would not be issuing any public response or statement at the time. USA TODAY reached out again on Friday.
USA TODAY also contacted the team behind “Hamilton” on Friday for further updates.