Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, has publicly responded to the church in Texas that live-streamed a controversial production of the musical earlier this month.
The musical was performed by the Door Christian Fellowship Ministries last weekend in McAllen, Texas, and the Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner shared a brief statement on Wednesday. NBC Out claims that the pastor of the church made controversial comments in a post-performance sermon, and that the pastor made unauthorized changes to the script for those performances, including one that was live-streamed and published online in a now-removed video.
Thank you to everyone who contacted me about this unauthorized filming. In a tweet in response to a statement by the Dramatists Guild regarding the Southern Baptist Church’s use of the copyrighted material, Miranda said, “Now lawyers do their work.” And I am eternally appreciative to the @dramatistsguild, who support playwrights of all experience levels.
The Dramatists Guild released a statement criticizing the McAllen church for reproducing the Tony Award–winning musical without a license and for making “changed lyrics and added text without permission.”
We use the Door McAllen Church’s flagrant infraction as an example of the troubling trend of unlicensed performances and unauthorized alterations by some theater companies. According to the statement, “no organization, whether professional, amateur, or religious, is exempt from these laws.” No one’s work can be performed without the author’s permission, whether it’s a student writing their first play or Lin-Manuel Miranda rehearsing his latest musical. In addition, it is never acceptable to alter the lyrics, music, or other components of a work without the author’s permission.
The Onstage Blog was the first to report that the McAllen church had performed the musical twice on August 5 and 6, with the first performance being live-streamed. According to The Dallas Morning News, which spoke with a representative from Hamilton on Sunday, the following took place with the instruction that no photographs or videos be taken, and the church ceased performing the production.
The post-show sermon implies that being gay is a sin and something an individual may “struggle with,” alongside substance addiction, “broken marriages,” or poor finances, and clips from the performance show scenes that were not in the original musical and make references to confessing and repenting to the “Lord and savior.” On Sunday, several credible Twitter accounts began posting the aforementioned video clips, each of which is several minutes long.
Lopez claims in one video that “he knows exactly what you’ve gone through.” Some of your marriages may have ended in divorce. God can help you with whatever you’re going through tonight, whether it’s an addiction to alcohol or drugs or even homosexuality. To put it simply, he wants to pardon your transgressions.
Pastor Roman Gutierrez of Dallas’s Door Christian Fellowship told the local paper that his congregation welcomes all people and is not homophobic or transphobic. The outlet also quotes him as saying that members of the Hamilton production team gave legal permission for his church and RVG productions, the show’s producers, to do so.
The musical’s representative, Shane Marshall Brown, told the Morning News and The Washington Post that Hamilton “does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church” and that the show was “unaware of this unauthorized staging of Hamilton.” Over the weekend, the production also sent out a cease-and-desist letter for the theft of the show’s intellectual property.
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