A church in Texas has come under fire for an allegedly unauthorized rendition of a Christian theme from the acclaimed Broadway musical “Hamilton” that appeared to close with a sermon from a church pastor comparing being gay to being an alcoholic or drugs.
The two-hour performance, which was produced and streamed live Friday by The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries in McAllen and RGV Productions, included several biblical references not originally included in the Tony Award-winning musical, in according to a description of the live stream by Howard Sherman, director of the Arts Integrity Initiative at The New School in New York City, who was not connected to the performance. The video of the live stream has been taken down.
The show ended with a sermon by associate pastor, Victor Lopez, who compared homosexuality to drug addiction, according to the full video of the performance. NBC News obtained a recording of the performance by author and atheism advocate Hemant Mehta. Mehta would not identify who he got the video from.
“Maybe you’re struggling with alcohol, with drugs, homosexuality, maybe you’re struggling with other things in life, your money, whatever, relationships,” Lopez said. “God can help you tonight.”
Sherman said the production, first reported by OnStageBlog, also changed one of the main characters’ lines by adding the line, “Jesus gives me the strength to pull through; when I needed it most it was right on time.”
Another line from a video posted by Mehta shows the actor portraying Alexander Hamilton changing more words.
“‘What is an inheritance?” says the actor. “‘Know that you repent and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ that sets men free. You sent your sinless son of man to Calvary to die for me.”
In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, Roman Gutierrez, a pastor at the church, said that the congregation is not anti-LGBTQ and that the church received legal permission from “Hamilton” to reproduce the show.
Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesman for the official “Hamilton” production, said that “Hamilton” does not issue amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not authorize the church to put on the performance. “Hamilton” was made aware Saturday of an “unauthorized staging” of the musical from the night before, he said.
The church was also said to be planning to hold additional performances, prompting a cease-and-desist letter for “unauthorized use of Hamilton’s intellectual property,” as well as a call for the church to remove any videos of the production from its media immediately social. accounts and website.
The church had also planned to hold a performance on Saturday night. After “Hamilton” received a response to the cease and desist letter, the production informed the church that it could go ahead with its final performance as long as it did not record or broadcast it and did not present any further production, Brown. He said. Another condition was that “Hamilton” would “discuss this matter with the parties behind this unauthorized production within the next few days once all the facts have been properly vetted.”
The church declined to comment further and did not immediately respond to a follow-up request to verify Mehta’s video. Representatives for Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and lead actor of the original production, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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