Lin-Manuel Miranda blasts church’s ‘illegal’, homophobic Hamilton performance
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda called out a Texas church for hosting an “illegal” performance of his Tony-winning musical that included anti-LGBTQ+ statements.
The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries in Texas hosted performances of Hamilton in early August, but the church added religious references not included in the original musical. It also concluded with a homophobic line which compared being gay to drug and alcohol addiction.
Needless to say, Miranda was none too pleased to hear about the church’s rendition of his musical filled with religious messages and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. The show’s creator and original star wrote on Twitter that he was “grateful” to everyone who reached out about the “illegal, unauthorized” production hosted by the Texas church.
“Now lawyers do their work,” Miranda added.
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
Lin-Manuel Miranda retweeted a condemnation from the Dramatist’s Guild – a professional organisation for playwrights, composers and lyricists working in the US.
The Dramatist’s Guild criticised the church’s “brazen infringement” of the massively popular and “groundbreaking” musical. The guild wanted to “shine a light on the problematic pattern” of some theatrical organisations performing authors’ works “without a license and rewriting the text without authorial consent”.
“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,” the Dramatist’s Guild wrote. “And it is never okay to change the words, lyrics, or notes, without their express consent.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda said on Twitter he was “always grateful” to the professional organisation for having the “backs of writers everywhere, be it your first play or your fiftieth”.
The church’s alterations of Hamilton included changing the lyrics in the song “That Would Be Enough” from a loving message from a wife to her husband to words about giving Jesus a “chance”.
Parts of the song “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” were also altered from focusing on raising children to introduce “hundreds of children to Jesus”.
The Texas church’s production also included a sermon by the church’s associate pastor Victor Lopez comparing homosexuality to drug addition.
“Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs, with homosexuality, maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, God can help you tonight,” Lopez said.
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
Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesperson for Hamilton, told USA Today the team behind Lin-Manuel Miranda’s beloved musical denounced the Door Christian Fellowship Ministries’ “unauthorised changes” to the production.
“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 from the internet, including YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, their own website, and elsewhere,” Brown said.
Brown added: “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.”
Roman Gutierrez, a pastor at the church, told the Dallas Morning News the church received a “licence” to reproduce Hamilton. However, the Hamilton team has thoroughly denied it ever gave such permission to the church.
Gutierrez also insisted the church is not anti-LGBTQ+ and that “everyone is always welcome”.