In ‘1776: The Musical’ the Drama of Democracy Rings Truer Than the Songs

Joan Marcus

It may be called 1776, but this Broadway revival has a predominant tang of its 1969 origin. Sprawling, bawdy and ranging in the spirit of that era, and with a book (by Peter Stone) that is far more attention-commanding than its music and lyrics (Sherman Edwards), this Tony Award-winning musical has been revived on Broadway with a cast, the Roundabout Theatre Company/American Repertory Theater emphasize, that “includes multiple representations of race, ethnicity, and gender; they identify as female, transgender, and nonbinary.”

White men may have hammered the Declaration of Independence into being, but this revival (American Airlines Theatre, to January 8, 2023) wants to foreground the layers of diversity in the country that exist now—and to reveal the making of history through those voices. Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The cast of this revival is a resounding response to who he left out of his vision.

This othering doesn’t change the words or actions of the male roles being played, but it opens up a refreshing interpretive space by which to hear and view the words and actions of the men who debated, schemed, horse-traded, and agonized over the document famously dated to July 4, 1776.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: The Daily Beast

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