Consequences for Church That Staged Altered Hamilton

Lines were rewritten to reference Jesus before sermon claiming homosexuality as sin
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2022 1:29 PM CDT
Updated Aug 24, 2022 9:57 AM CDT
Church's Hamilton Rendition Causes a Ruckus
This image released by Disney shows Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, and Leslie Odom Jr. during a performance of "Hamilton."   (Disney via AP)

(Newser) Update: The Texas church that staged two performances of what Deadline calls an unauthorized and "Christianized" version of the musical Hamilton will pay unspecified damages for doing so. The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries in McAllen confirmed in a statement that it "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 ... Our ministry will use this moment as a learning opportunity about protected artistic works and intellectual property." In addition to not staging any future performances, the church will destroy all videos, photos, and recordings it took. Our original story from Aug. 9 follows:

A church in Texas has created a firestorm with its apparently illegal portrayal of the musical Hamilton, which included rewritten lines comparing homosexuality to addiction and praising Jesus. The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries of McAllen, which live-streamed the first of two performances on Friday and Saturday, claims it had permission from the Hamilton team in New York. But the team denies that, saying it sent a cease-and-desist letter to the church after the Friday performance demanding that all footage posted online be removed. They allowed the Saturday performance to go ahead on the condition that no photos or video be taken, but the Hamilton team was at the time unaware of the changes to the show's content, per CNN.

In footage, the character Alexander Hamilton is asked to pray and "receive Jesus Christ in your heart right now," according to the OnStage Blog. He's shown agreeing to "not only confess but repent of all of your sin" and accept Jesus "as your Lord and savior." In another scene, character Eliza Schuyler Hamilton says "Jesus gives me the strength to pull through," which is not in the original script. In yet another scene, the lyrics of "The World Was Wide Enough" are changed from "What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see" to "What is a legacy? It's knowing that you repented and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ that sets men free," per the Washington Post.

Pastor Victor Lopez concluded the performance with a sermon. "Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs—with homosexuality—maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever," he told the audience. "God can help you tonight. He wants to forgive you for your sins." Much criticism followed, with onlookers arguing "the edited performance and sermon are the antithesis of what Hamilton and [creator Lin-Manuel Miranda], who is known for his support of LGBT causes, represent," per the Dallas Morning News. "LGBTQ lives are NOT sinful. Addictions are not sins but illnesses," responded Howard Sherman of Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York. The Hamilton team says it's reviewing the facts "to determine further action." (Read more Hamilton stories.)

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