The Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church has released an apology for their recent unauthorized production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, revealing that the church will pay unspecified "damages" for the performances. The Texas church performed the Tony-winning musical earlier this month without obtaining the legal right to do so, additionally making changes to the work that inserted biblical references.
The public apology, which affirms that the church will not stage the musical again in addition to destroying "any and all video or sound recordings and images of the unauthorized performances or rehearsals," follows online outrage over the production that led to an official response from Miranda: "Now lawyers do their work."
"On behalf of The Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church, I would like to personally apologize to the creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the producers of Hamilton, and the numerous others who contributed their intellectual property to Hamilton, for staging an unauthorized production of Hamilton that infringed on the rights and copyrights of many," reads the statement, ostensibly written by Pastor Roman Gutierrez, posted to Instagram.
The statement goes on to acknowledge that not only was the performance unauthorized, it included unauthorized changes to Miranda's book, music, and lyrics. "We respect the copyrights of Hamilton's author and contributors. These copyrights are protected by federal law. We acknowledge there are lawful avenues to obtain a license to stage properties which we did not pursue. And it is never permissible to alter an artistic work such as Hamilton without legal permission. I recognize as the Pastor of the church that I have an obligation and responsibility to follow the law and educate our community about these protocols. Our ministry will use this moment as a learning opportunity about protected artistic works and intellectual property."
The church reportedly received a cease and desist letter August 6 after an August 5 performance was live-streamed to the church's YouTube channel. The Door McAllen was granted "limited permission" to perform its August 6 show under a series of stipulations, including a no videos or photos rule and the cancellation of all future performances. The Door McAllen's live-streamed production and trailer have been removed from YouTube, and no trace of the production can be found on its social media page. Gutierrez claimed in a quote given to Dallas News that he had previously acquired legal permission to produce the show
Hamilton is directed by Thomas Kail with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler. The show is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman, and The Public Theater.
The Tony-, Pulitzer-, and Olivier Award-winning musical was filmed live and released via Disney+ in 2020, featuring the entirety of the principal original cast, including Miranda in the title role.