Lin-Manuel Miranda Calls Out Illegal, Unauthorized Production of Hamilton by Texas Church

Lin-Manuel Miranda is praising lawyers who get the job done after a Texas church staged an “illegal, unauthorized” production of “Hamilton.”

Producers of the hit Broadway musical have taken issue with The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries in McAllen, Texas, which staged the show on Aug. 5 and 6 without a license, as well as changed lyrics and added text to include Biblical references and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric without permission.

“Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production. Now lawyers do their work,” Miranda wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “And always grateful to the @dramatistsguild, who have the backs of writers everywhere, be it your first play or your fiftieth.”

Miranda, who created the Tony-winning sensation “Hamilton” and portrayed the title character on Broadway, also retweeted a statement from the Dramatist Guild — an organization representing playwrights, composers and lyricists — that reads, “The Dramatists Guild condemns the Door McAllen Church for its unauthorized production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical ‘Hamilton,’ performed on August 5 and August 6, 2022, in McAllen, Texas. In addition to performing the show without a license, the Door McAllen Church changed lyrics and added text without permission.”

The statement continues, “We hold up the Door McAllen Church’s brazen infringement to shine a light on the problematic pattern of some theatrical organizations performing authors’ work without a license and rewriting the text without authorial consent. No organization, professional, amateur, or religious, is exempt from these laws. No writer’s work, whether they are a student who has just written their first play, or Lin-Manuel Miranda, can be performed without their permission. And it is never okay to change the words, lyrics, or notes, without their express consent.”

Earlier this week, video clips from the church’s production of “Hamilton” made rounds on social media, with added dialogue about receiving “Jesus Christ in your heart, right now” and an included sermon about God’s ability to help those who “struggle with alcohol, with drugs, homosexuality.”

After the Door McAllen Church’s revised version gained attention, a pastor at the Christian church pushed back saying the musical’s creative team had given the church a license to perform the show. However, Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesman for “Hamilton,” denied that claim, saying in a statement “‘Hamilton’ does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to the Door Church.”

Brown added that lawyers representing “Hamilton” sent 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.”

The producers of “Hamilton” said the church could proceed on the conditions that “a) it was not live-streamed or recorded; b) no photos or videos of the performance be posted; c) they not mount any further productions; d) this limited permission was without prejudice, and we reserved all rights and remedies; and e) we would be discussing this matter with the parties behind this unauthorized production within the coming days once all facts are properly vetted.”

The statement concludes, “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. We would like to thank our devoted fans for bringing this to our attention.”

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