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In a statement posted to Instagram on Tuesday seemingly by The Door Christian Fellowship church’s pastor Roman Gutierrez, the ministry has issued a formal apology to Miranda, Hamilton’s producers and the “numerous others who have contributed their intellectual property to Hamilton.”
The statement acknowledges that the church did not pursue “lawful avenues” to obtain a license to stage the musical, whose copyrights are protected by federal law. The apology comes around three weeks after the parish and RVG productions produced multiple performances of the record-setting Broadway musical the weekend of Aug. 5. Those shows featured altered dialogue and a post-show sermon that was heavily criticized for being homophobic.
In the apology, Guiterrez — who goes unnamed — confirmed the church’s performances were unauthorized and infringed on “rights and copyrights in various ways.” The statement adds the church “will never stage the performance again and will destroy any and all video or sound recordings and images of the unauthorized performances or rehearsals, and request all of our members do the same.” The statement also acknowledges the fellowship will “pay damages for our actions.”
“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 reads.
Gutierrez said the experience will serve as “a learning opportunity about protected artistic works and intellectual property.”
The apology follows a public statement from Miranda on Aug. 11 after the Dramatists Guild condemned the McAllen church’s reproduction without a license and its decision to do so with “changed lyrics and added text without permission.”
“Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production. Now lawyers do their work,” Miranda said in a tweet. “And always grateful to the @dramatistsguild, who have the backs of writers everywhere, be it your first play or your fiftieth.”
The McAllen church performed their altered version of the musical twice, both on Aug. 5 and Aug. 6. The first performance was live-streamed, with the second proceeding under the guidance that no photos or videos be taken.
Clips of the performance show scenes not from the original musical of characters confessing and repenting to the “Lord and savior.” A post-show sermon suggested being gay is a sin and something an individual may “struggle with.”
In a statement around the time of the performances, a representative for the musical said the production was unaware of the staging and that the musical does not grant either amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions.
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