The classic musical inspired the modern rap musical and vice versa.
Roundabout Theatre Company, in association with the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, presents a revival of the Tony Award-winning musical 1776 on Broadway, directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus. Get 1776 tickets on New York Theatre Guide now.
The year is 1776, and John Adams is trying to get his political contemporaries to support America's independence from Britain. The show opens at the Second Continental Congress, where Adams is prepared with his pitch — but as much of a no-brainer as independence seems now, it wasn't for the other delegates then, as Adams was a widely disliked politician. So he has to keep coming up with new ways to get people to back his cause, like having someone else present it and — the idea that finally gains traction — creating a formal Declaration of Independence. The 1776 musical traces the debates, agreements, inner conflicts, and surprising alliance shifts that led up to the eventual signing of that all-important document.
The large ensemble cast of 1776 mostly calls for male characters, with only two female characters: Abigail Adams and Martha Jefferson. The 2022 revival, however, is turning the musical on its head by casting only female, non-binary, and transgender performers in all the roles.
The 1776 musical is also notable as one of two Broadway shows running at the same time inspired by revolutionary America. The other is, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, which has occupied the Richard Rodgers Theatre since 2015 and even includes a lyric that references the title of 1776's opening number, "Sit Down, John."
The musical holds the distinction of going the longest without a song — there are over 30 minutes between "The Lees of Old Virginia" and "But Mr. Adams" in the first act.
1776 premiered on Broadway in 1969 to positive reviews, and the show earned three Tonys, including Best Musical. (It also marked the Broadway debut of Tony winner Betty Buckley as Martha.) The show was revived on Broadway in 1997, and received a short Off-Broadway run in 2016 as part of New York City Center's Encores! program for seldom-revived musicals. That cast included actors like Tony winner André De Shields, Tony winner Santino Fontana, and Tony nominee Bryce Pinkham. 1776 also got a film adaptation in 1972, with a screenplay by the musical's bookwriter, Peter Stone.
The 2022 pre-Broadway production of 1776 went up at the American Repertory Theater in May before coming to Broadway's American Airlines Theatre in the fall. Are you ready for a revolutionary 1776 on Broadway?
Tickets to 1776 are available now.
They knew they would make history, but not what history would make of them. Fed up with living under the tyranny of British rule, John Adams attempts to persuade his fellow members of the Continental Congress to vote in favor of American Independence and sign the Declaration. But how much is he willing to compromise in the pursuit of freedom? And who does that freedom belong to? This new production of the Tony Award-winning musical re-examines this pivotal moment in American history.
Cast and creative
By: Peter Stone
Songs by: Sherman Edwards
Director: Diane Paulus and Jeffrey L. Page
Choreography: Raja Feather Kelly
Producer: Roundabout Theatre Company in association with the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University
Cast list: Crystal Lucas-Perry (as John Adams), Gisela Adisa (as Robert Livingston), Nancy Anderson (as George Read), Becca Ayers (as Col. Thomas McKean), Tiffani Barbour (as Andrew McNair), Carolee Carmello (as John Dickinson), Allyson Kaye Daniel (as Abigail Adams/Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon), Elizabeth A. Davis (as Thomas Jefferson), Mehry Eslaminia (as Charles Thomson), Joanna Glushak (as Stephen Hopkins), Shawna Hamic (as Richard Henry Lee), Eryn LeCroy (as Martha Jefferson/Dr. Lyman Hall), Liz Mikel (as John Hancock), Patrena Murray (as Benjamin Franklin), Oneika Phillips (as Joseph Hewes), Lulu Picart (as Samuel Chase), Sara Porkalob (as Edward Rutledge), Sushma Saha (as Judge James Wilson), Brooke Simpson (as Roger Sherman), Salome B. Smith (as Courier), Sav Souza (as Dr. Josiah Bartlett) Jill Vallery (as Caesar Rodney)
Design: Scott Pask
Costumes: Emilio Sosa
Lighting: Jen Schriever
Sound: Jonathan Deans
Other info: Projection design by David Bengali, hair and wig design by Mia Neal