Texas Church Apologizes for Unauthorized Hamilton Production

Texas Church apologizes for unauthorized hamilton production
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Texas Church apologizes for unauthorized hamilton production
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Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson / CC by 2.0

A Texas church apologizes for an unauthorized Hamilton production and rewrite following a cease-and-desist letter from the musical’s legal team.

The Texas church that performed an illegal and unauthorized version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical, Hamilton, has issued an apology after receiving a cease-and-desist letter. In a post on social media, Pastor Roman Gutierrez of The Door McAllen Church apologized to the playwright for having “infringed on the rights and copyrights of many.” The church also says it will “pay damages for our actions.”

“The Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church did not ask for or receive a license from the producers or creators of Hamilton to produce, stage, replicate or alter any part of Hamilton,” Gutierrez writes. “Nor did we seek prior permission to alter Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work by changing the music, the lyrics, deleting songs, and adding dialogue.”

The church’s production, streamed live earlier this month, rewrote some of the musical’s bawdier lyrics to include references to Jesus. It also added a scene in which Alexander Hamilton meets with Jesus and repents for his actions. The unauthorized production ended with a sermon from the church’s associate pastor urging those struggling with “drug addiction and homosexuality” to turn to God for help.

“Our ministry will use this moment as a learning opportunity about protected artistic works and intellectual property,” the post continues, concluding that the production would not be performed again.

The unauthorized production was initially brought to the attention of Lin-Manuel Miranda through a post by the Dramatists Guild, which condemned the church’s reproduction.

“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 on the internet,” reads a statement issued by a spokesperson for Hamilton. “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.”

“Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production,” tweets Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Now lawyers do their work. And always grateful to the Dramatists Guild, who have the backs of writers everywhere, be it your first play or your fiftieth.”