Up next in the Encores! season is 1776, the classic Tony Award-winning musical about how the founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence and gave birth to a new nation. 1776 will star Terence Archie, John Behlmann, Larry Bull, Nikki Renée Daniels, André De Shields, Macintyre Dixon, Santino Fontana, Alexander Gemignani, John Hickok, John Hillner, John Larroquette, Kevin Ligon, John-Michael Lyles, Laird Mackintosh, Michael McCormick, Michael Medeiros, Christiane Noll, Bryce Pinkham,Wayne Pretlow, Tom Alan Robbins, Robert Sella, Ric Stoneback, Jubilant Sykes, Vishal Vaidya, Nicholas Ward, and Jacob Keith Watson.
With rousing music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, and an engrossing book by Peter Stone, “1776” is an often whimsical, frequently poignant reminder that the tortuous path to American independence began not just on the battlefield, but on the political front, as well.
In staging the Tony Award-winning “1776,” Northampton Community College Summer Theatre Director Bill Mutimer, his production staff and amazing cast of 27 took on a formidable challenge. The result is a finely-crafted, highly-professional, immensely-entertaining offering. The July 5 performance was seen for this review.
Even in times of tumult, history moves at different paces. To see the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” is to experience the American Revolution as a hotheaded, hotfooted affair, sped forward by impatient firebrands who act as fast they talk.
But take a look at the same era as it’s portrayed in “1776,” the 1969 musical by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone about one excruciatingly protracted session of the Continental Congress in the year of its title. As Garry Hynes’s stately Encores! concert production of that show reminds us, the birth of great change often involves a slow and difficult labor, especially when a hidebound institution called Congress is involved.
This time last year, fans of quirky woman-led, pop culture-obsessed dramedies were still basking in the afterglow of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. No, the Netflix outing wasn’t perfect, but, at least it bought creator-producer Amy Sherman-Palladino’s signature style back to television. And, almost exactly 365 days after that Stars Hollow event, AS-P has gifted fans with an entirely new series: Amazon’sMarvelous Mrs. Maisel, whose pilot includes one of my favorite scenes of 2017.