Last Friday, The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries in McAllen, Texas livestreamed their own production of Hamilton with several changes to the script and lyrics relating to biblical references not from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, as well as a moment at the end where a pastor compared homosexuality to drug addiction. Following the recent production being staged and the backlash that followed, Miranda has broken his silence.
Lin-Manuel Miranda took to Twitter to thank fans for calling to attention to the “illegal, unauthorized” production of his Broadway musical, and referred to a statement by the Dramatists Guild, which “condemns” the production being staged. The Dramatists Guild is a professional membership trade association of theatre writers that supports causes such as this one. You can read Miranda words and the Guild’s statement below:
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/yMtM3z9crIAugust 10, 2022
A musical such as Hamilton cannot be reproduced on stage without official approval by the artists, and The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries did not have permission from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Changing the musical, in addition to putting it on without permission, could land the church in legal penalties for its production for copyright infringement. As Miranda said in his tweet, “now lawyers do their work.”
The video of the two-hour performance has since been taken down. According to NBC News, which obtained a copy of the unauthorized Hamilton production, the actor who played Alexander Hamilton at one point said “What is legacy? It’s knowing that you repented and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ that sets men free. You sent your sinless son of man on Calvary to die for me,” showcasing how the Texas church transformed the secular musical into something religiously focused.
Following the backlash, The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries responded that the church is not anti-LGBTQ after associate pastor Victor Lopez compared being gay to struggling with drug addiction in a sermon at the end of the Texas unauthorized Hamilton production. The church also claimed it received legal permission to produce Hamilton. It’s clear from Miranda’s response, and the content within the musical, that this was unauthorized, but no documents have reportedly been filed as of Wednesday evening.
Hamilton has been on Broadway since 2016 and continues to tour across the U.S. In summer of 2020, the taped version of the musical with the original cast hit Disney+. Miranda believes this Hamilton release only amplified demand for the show. While the Hamilton show has faced some controversies as it’s become more popular, it remains a hot ticket, so much so that one cast member is ready to continue the story.
Following Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda has found success with other projects like Encanto and its viral song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” Both Hamilton and Encanto can be viewed with a Disney+ subscription.