What Hamilton was to 2016, 1776 Was To 1969

THIS WEEKEND, 1776, MST&DA's Live Historical Drama, Dates & Times

Updated 1 year ago David Stone
THIS WEEKEND, 1776, MST&DA's Live Historical Drama, Dates & Times

Until Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton shook up Broadway a few years back, the biggest historical musical about the Founding Fathers was Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone's 1776, a show blending  serious history, drama, music and humor that magically makes it all work. It won the Tony for Best Musical, and now under the direction of Jacqueline Lucid, it's coming to the Howe Theatre under an expanding entertainment tent set up by Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance.

Exciting features of this new production are several.

First, Jacqueline Lucid, who in last year's whirlwind spring season directed, not just a sumptuous Sondheim On Sondheim, but also Pippin and Suessical Jr., is at the helm. Her gift for musical theatre established, it'll get a workout as larger than life delegates to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention - the meeting of minds that solidified America as a nation - sing, quarrel, flatter and compromise their way to a document that's guided us for more than 225 years and counting.

Given the contemporary politics, the show is especially instructive and meaningful, enlivened by contrast.

Sit Down, John

"Obnoxious and disliked," "His Rotundity," John Adams, the Massachusetts delegate and future president, the musical's main character, is played by Kimbirdlee Fadner.

Kimbirdlee Fadner as John Adams
Kimbirdlee Fadner as John Adams
photo courtesy of Irina Hage of www.irinaislandimages.com

Yes, you read that right, Kimbirdlee Fadner is John Adams. You know the emphasis will be on enjoyment when petite, blonde, gifted songstress Fadner takes on a completely off-character role. And the music has to be a pleasure.

Kimbirdlee's husband Jonathan gets a chance to show his stage skills because, for 1776, Paul L. Johnson serves as music director, a job that often anchors the taller of the Fadners at a keyboard.

Paul L. Johnson, Musical Director
Paul L. Johnson, Musical Director
Photo by Kristi Towey

Mary McCatty choreographs, but the former Rockette also takes a role on stage, a double gift for Roosevelt Island theatre fans.

I'll be watching for a personal favorite, Brenna Stein. I want to see what Lucid gets her to do after she nearly stole the show with a flashy, comical striptease, last year, in Sondheim On Sondheim.

Don't miss out. Tickets for 1776 are on sale here now.

It's always difficult to write articles aimed at encouraging you to get over to the Howe Theatre in the Cultural Center, 548 Main Street, for consistently great shows, knowing there will never be enough room for all the players.

Russ Cusick will, of course, show off his singing and acting skills, and as a special treat for MST&DA fans, executive director Kristi Towey will make an appearance in costume.

And you can't forget the not as visible but just as necessary and talented Assistant Director, Chana Meltzer...

The full cast of 1776
The full cast of 1776
Photo courtesy of Irina Hage of www.irinaislandimages.com

Aw, what the heck? Why not give you the rest of this extraordinarily talented cast: 

MandaLeigh Blunt
Eric B. Cohen
Bryan Cusick
Deborah Drucker
Tim di Fiore
Janet Guy
Paul L. Johnson
Pamela Koller
Kelli Kruger
Louis Ladehoff
Marcus Lopez
Arianne Recto
Mae Roney
Ty Scanlan
Tara Sigal
Jonathan Stein
Julian Stein

1776 opens March 23rd. Get your tickets now.

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