McLean Community Players in rehearsal for “1776:” John Adams (Brent Stone) convinces Thomas Jefferson (Scott Gustaveson) to write the Declaration of Independence.
Photos by Irish Eyes Photography by Toby/Courtesy of McLean Community Players
Where and When
McLean Community Players present “1776” at the Alden Theater, McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean.
Performances Feb. 5-21, 2016. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Call 866-811-4111 or visit http://www.mclean...">www.mcleanplayers...
"I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a congress. And by God, I have had this Congress!” Nope, those are not thoughts from contemporary political commentary on some cable news network. Those are the words of John Adams in “1776,” the musical production about the signing of the Declaration of Independence some 240 years ago.
Performed by the McLean Community Players, “1776” uses quotes from the actual letters of the participants to create a musical rendition of how strong temperaments, gathered together in the heat of summer, led to the Declaration of Independence. The dialogue by Peter Stone with musical numbers by Sherman Edwards bring forth the passionate perspectives of the likes of John Adams who takes a center stage in “1776” and the dozens of others to what could have been “just dusty history, but instead kicks away the cob webs” said director Annie O’Neill Galvin. The musical won three Tony Award, including for Best Musical.
In interviews at the McLean Community Center, director O'Neill Galvin with cast members Jeff Westlake (Ben Franklin), Brent Stone (John Adams), David Weaver (Joseph Hewes), Marissa Chapman (Abigail Adams), Shawn Cox (John Dickinson), Bob Cohen (Thomas McKean), spoke how the production “rings true” today.
It is a tale of fervent “struggles and compromises by flawed, real human beings” over contentious issues that still vex, noted Westlake. Stone suggested that “many of the issues raised then, are still with us.”
Chapman noted the political importance of Abigail Adams to the thinking of her husband John in a day when women were not often visible, but could be viewed as mere “trophy wives.”
Veteran music director John Edward Niles and a 10-piece band will set musical bearings to “1776” with its fifteen numbers. The songs include many involving John Adams and his prickly personality such as “Sit Down, John” or “But, Mr. Adams” as well as the strong sentiments of “Molasses to Rum” that indicts Northern hypocrisy about slavery delivered by James Myers as the delegate from South Carolina, Edward Rutledge.
The set design by Bill Glikbarg and George Farnsworth will include a very visible hand marked vote tally board giving visible expression to tensions of “how close it all was as voting for independence proceeded,” added O’Neil Galvin.