Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is speaking out about an unauthorized performance of his Tony-winning musical at a Texas church that was allegedly altered to include Biblical references and ended with a sermon that made anti-LGBTQ+ statements.
Days after Hamilton‘s production company reportedly sent a cease-and-desist to the Dallas area church Door McAllen, the show’s creator and original star took to Twitter to say that he was “grateful” to everyone who had reached out about the “illegal, unauthorized” production.
“Now lawyers do their work,” Miranda tweeted Wednesday (Aug. 10).
Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production. Now lawyers do their work.
And always grateful to the @dramatistsguild, who have the backs of writers everywhere, be it your first play or your fiftieth. 1/2 https://t.co/yMtM3z9crI
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) August 10, 2022
With the tweet, Miranda shared a statement from the Dramatists Guild, released late Tuesday, that “condemns” Door McAllen’s “brazen infringement” of the massively popular musical, as well as its “rewriting the text without authorial consent.”
The Hamilton controversy started over the weekend, when clips from the Door’s Friday production went viral on social media. Users quickly criticized the the show’s altered text, which included lines such as “My hope is in Jesus/ If you could just give him a chance today…/ That would be enough.” One person also noted that the Church’s performance ended with references to people “struggling” with homosexuality.
This is how The Door McAllen church concluded its illegal production of Hamilton: with a sermon demonizing homosexuality. pic.twitter.com/FXpw8ycvbb
— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) August 7, 2022
On Monday, as reported by multiple media outlets, the producers of Hamilton confirmed that Door McAllen’s production had not been licensed, and that a cease-and-desist had been sent to the church, demanding that it stage no future performances.
Door McAllen could not immediately be reached by Billboard for comment. In a statement to the Dallas Morning News, pastor Roman Gutierrez said the church is not anti-LGBT and “everyone is always welcome.” The pastor also told the newspaper that he had secured legal permission to produce the show — a claim directly refuted by Hamilton‘s producers and Miranda.
If actually unlicensed, the producers behind Hamilton would have legal grounds to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against Door McAllen. The church reportedly did not charge admission, but willful violation of copyright law still carries as much as a $150,000 penalty regardless of the revenue it generated. Whether such litigation would make financial sense — against a non-commercial religious entity that appears to be complying with a cease-and-desist — is less clear.