Hamilton is donating the damages they won from a Texas church that put on an unlicensed, homophobic version of the famous musical.
The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries from McAllen, Texas got caught up in the Hamilton craze, like the rest of us. But they took things several steps too far.
On August 5 and 6, the church staged two performances of their version of Hamilton, with lyrics altered to make it more Christian and a sermon appended that compared homosexuality to drug abuse. Videos of the performance and the included sermon, which was given both nights, immediately went viral.
Which was a problem for the church, as their performances were entirely unlicensed. Pirate theater, so to say. Hamilton’s large fanbase immediately made sure the creators didn’t miss what was happening.
“Grateful to all of you who reached out about this illegal, unauthorized production. Now lawyers do their work,” tweeted Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Hamilton immediately issued a cease and desist letter. A settlement was reached without going to court, in which the Door CFM Church paid damages and issued a public apology.
“We acknowledge there are lawful avenues to obtain a license to stage properties which we did not pursue,” Pastor Roman Gutierrez wrote. “And it is never permissible to alter an artistic work such as Hamilton without legal permission.”
Nowhere in the apology, which goes on at length about legalities, are his assistant pastor’s homophobic remarks mentioned, though a Hamilton spokesperson made it clear where the performance company stands on that issue:
“The ‘Hamilton’ family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity and certainly LGBTQ+ rights.”
The damages paid, while not specified in amount, will be donated entirely to the South Texas Equality Project (STEP), which supports LGBTQ people in the McAllen community. STEP was founded in 2013, and hosts the now-annual Pride festival in the small city.
Photo: A production of Hamilton at the Rodgers Theater on Broadway. Credit: LouiesWorld1 / Shutterstock.com