A Musical History Lesson
Politicking is an American tradition that is comical as much as it is dramatic and suspenseful and ever since Sherman Edwards put music and lyrics to Peter Stone’s narrative 1776 in 1969, musical.
Audiences still roar with laughter at the puns and comedic satire throughout the musical about the founding of our nation that kicked off the American Conservatory Theater’s 2013 – 2014 season earlier this month.
San Francisco theater goers packed the seats at the Curran Theater last Friday proving this popular three time Tony-award winning lyrical romp through the days leading to our nation’s independence is just as relevant and revolutionary today as it was when it originally appeared on Broadway.
The musical originally ran for 1,200 performances on Broadway before becoming a regional theater favorite.
A.C.T.’s revival of 1776 on a major stage is once again winning acclaim. Tony-award winning director Frank Galati led a cast of 15 Bay Area actors to create this engaging and rousing historical musical that is a true delight, even for the passing historical buff.
Galati also directed a version of 1776 in Sarasota, Fla.
In a very amusing way 1776 is educational revealing unknown facts about the compromises made by our original Congress and the distain for John Adams by many Congressional members of the day originally revealed in this musical, not in our history classes.
Who knew our founding fathers decided to drop a clause about freeing enslaved Africans in order to persuade the South join the revolution rather than stay with Britain? How much did we know about how George Washington and our rag tag troupes were being crushed by the Red Coats until victories finally happened? Who really thought about the long months of separation endured by our founding fathers from their wives and families or the power and influence the women had on supporting and shaping our nation?
Even though I knew how the story ended I was taken back in time riding on the edge of my seat and laughing at the jabs made by the characters at each other as the days counted down from spring to July 4, 1776.
It seems that in spite of more than 235 years since those fateful days that shaped our destiny as a nation, they are forever with us in the fabric and spirit of who we are as a people and Congress’ politics making this musical charmingly timeless.
1776 runs through October 6 at A.C.T., 415 Geary Street, San Francisco. Tickets start at $20. For more information, visit 405 Geary Street or www.act-sf.org/home/box_office/mainstage/1776.html or contact or 415-749-2228.
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