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'Hamilton' Slams Texas Church's 'Unauthorized' Staging of Musical Featuring Religious Changes

·3-min read
Marquee for the musical Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers theatre, New York City, New York, July 7, 2016.
Marquee for the musical Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers theatre, New York City, New York, July 7, 2016.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

Hamilton is condemning unauthorized performances of the musical held by a Texas church over the weekend.

The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries located in McAllen, Texas, hosted performances of Hamilton on Friday and Saturday but edited some language and added religious lines and a concluding sermon, according to CNN and USA Today.

The Tony-winning Broadway show — created by Lin-Manuel Miranda — has an official touring company that travels North America but does not grant amateur or professional licenses and did not grant one to The Door Church, Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesperson for Hamilton, told PEOPLE Tuesday.

Brown says on Saturday they "were made aware of the unauthorized staging of Hamilton" that happened Friday. At that point, "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."

Once they got a response from the church, the Hamilton team told The Door they could "proceed" with the already-scheduled Saturday show "on the conditions that it was not live-streamed or recorded; no photos or videos of the performance be posted; they not mount any further productions; this limited permission was without prejudice, and we reserved all rights and remedies; and we would be discussing this matter with the parties behind this unauthorized production within the coming days once all facts are properly vetted."

RELATED: Lin-Manuel Miranda Marks Jan. 6 Anniversary with Virtual Hamilton Performance at Capitol Event

The Door McAllen Texas Church
The Door McAllen Texas Church

Google Maps

Clips from the church's Hamilton interpretation then went viral on social media, shared by writers like Hemant Mehta. Dialogue appeared to be added to insert religious threads in the story, and a sermon at the end told the audience that "God can help you" through "broken marriages" or those who "struggle with alcohol, with drugs, homosexuality."

On its Facebook page, The Door describes itself as a "Bible-based, Spirit-filled, nondenominational family of believers."

According to Brown, "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."

A spokesperson for The Door did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Pastor Roman Gutierrez told The Dallas Morning News in a statement that The Door is not anti-LGBTQ and "everyone is always welcome."

Per video from a service shared by Mehta on Sunday, a pastor claimed to the congregation that the Hamilton team had granted them "license to perform our version" of the show. He added that they immediately removed the footage from social media when lawyers contacted them, apologizing for the inconvenience. "Hopefully we can do it again in the future," he added.

The New York Times noted that U.S. copyright laws allow for churches to use copyrighted music during its religious services, but not necessarily to republish it online or hold performances.