A Texas church has received a cease-and-desist letter after performing the award-winning musical "Hamilton" without getting prior permission to do so and adding Christian themes and Bible references to the play.
The Door Christian Fellowship Ministries of McAllen has been told it can no longer perform its variation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical telling the reimagined story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
The church first performed the play on Friday and had additional performances planned. The church is also accused of making heavy edits to the script.
In a statement Monday, the team behind the musical said it "does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church."
"On Saturday, August 6, we were made aware of the unauthorized staging of HAMILTON by The Door Church in McAllen, TX that took place on Friday, August 5, and their plans for additional performances," the team continued.
"We issued a cease and desist letter for the unauthorized use of Hamilton's intellectual property, demanding the immediate removal of all videos and images from previous productions from the internet, including YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, their own website, and elsewhere."
The team noted that the church could perform the show on Aug. 6 provided that it was neither live-streamed nor recorded, that no videos or photos were taken, that no further performances were given. The statement said, "we would be discussing this matter with the parties behind this unauthorized production within the coming days once all facts are properly vetted."
The Christian Post reached out to The Door Fellowship Church. A church representative said Thursday they could not offer a comment.
Senior Pastor Ramon Gutierrez said during a Sunday service that the church received a "license" to perform the play. However, the team behind the play assured that licenses for the musical were not made available. Gutierrez acknowledged that the church was contacted by a lawyer from the "Hamilton" team and instructed to remove the videos online.
"We did that immediately. We apologized for any inconvenience. And she gave us the OK to continue last night," Gutierrez said. "Thank you so much for entrusting us with such an amazing play."
A video of the performance posted online shows that the church made script changes to include references to Jesus Christ. According to video posted to social media, Hamilton is asked to pray and receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
According to My San Antonio, Pastor Victor Lopez made an alter call after the play concluded in which he allegedly said that "maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs, with homosexuality, maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, God can help you tonight. He wants to forgive you for your sins."
The reference to homosexuality in the list of sins has prompted many on social media to call the church production homophobic.
Responding to the criticism, Guttierez told the congregation that the church is not anti-LGBT and that "everyone is always welcome."