The Broadway production company that owns Hamilton is considering legal action against a McAllen, Texas, church for illegally performing the masterpiece and adding anti-LGBTQ+ messages and biblical themes to the show.
A sermon comparing gayness and addiction was added to Lin-Manuel Miranda's original by the Door Christian Fellowship Ministries.
A spokesperson for Hamilton's New York producers told The Advocate that the unauthorized production was granted permission under strict terms for one subsequent performance after it responded to a cease and desist letter. However, the local production company appears to have violated that too.
YouTuber and podcast host Hemant Mehta posted videos on Twitter that show Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler Hamilton referring to Jesus as "saving" them during performances and livestreams of Hamilton this weekend.
OnStage Blog, the first to report about the show, noted that Pastor Victor Lopez compared being gay to alcohol and drug addiction after one of the performances.
"He knows exactly what you've gone through," Lopez said, referring to God, according to the video. "You've gone through maybe broken marriages. 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. He wants to forgive you for your sins."
Church officials told their congregation that they obtained legal permission to produce the show from the Hamilton team. Pastor Roman Gutierrez said in a sermon August 7 that a lawyer had asked him to remove online videos of the performance. He added that the church isn't anti-LGBTQ+ and that everyone is welcome.
The Hamilton spokesperson, however, denied the church had permission to perform the musical.
"Hamilton does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church," the spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Advocate.
It was on Saturday that the producers were made aware that the Broadway hit had been staged unauthorizedly on Friday, the spokesperson said. In response, Hamilton's lawyers sent a cease and desist letter requesting the removal of all videos and images from past productions from the internet, including YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and the church's website, the spokesperson said.
Despite the producers' concerns, the church was allowed to hold its Sunday performance as long as it wasn't livestreamed or recorded, and the church posted no photographs or filmed any videos.
After all of the facts surrounding the unauthorized production have been vetted, the spokesperson said, Hamilton's legal team will discuss this matter with those behind this unauthorized production in the coming days.
The spokesperson addressed fans' concerns regarding the anti-LGBTQ+ sermon at the show's end.
"The Hamilton family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity, and certainly LGBTQ+ rights," the spokesperson wrote. "We are in the process of reviewing the unauthorized changes made to the script to determine further action."
They added, "We would like to thank our devoted fans for bringing this to our attention."
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