A conservative Christian church in Texas has issued an apology for staging an unauthorized production of Hamilton that altered the text to include religious and anti-LGBTQ+ messages, and it will pay damages to the show's copyright holders.
The Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church produced a version of Lin-Manuel Miranda's award-winning musical this month that had Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, talking about their belief in Jesus Christ -- language that is not in the script. It was followed by a sermon by the church's pastor, Roman Gutierrez, that likened homosexuality to addiction. However, church officials denied that the institution is anti-LGBTQ+.
Miranda, who wrote the show and starred in the original Broadway production, issued a statement against the unauthorized use and alteration of his work, and lawyers contacted the church. The church issued a statement Tuesday via Instagram.
"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; 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 statement said.
"We respect the copyrights of Hamilton's author and contributors," it continued. "These copyrights are protected by federal law. We acknowledge there are lawful avenues to obtain a license to stage properties which we did not pursue. And it is never permissible to alter an artistic work such as Hamilton without legal permission." It also said the church would pay damages.
Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesperson for the Hamilton team, told several media outlets that any damages will be donated to the South Texas Equality Project, an LGBTQ+ organization. Brown had issued a statement earlier that said, "The Hamilton family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity, and certainly LGBTQ+ rights."