1776 Today
Posted by: sergius 07:16 pm EDT 09/25/22

All over the map. This production of 1776 bounds routinely from affecting to ineffectual, from sharp to bloated. Through it all, it’s Peter Stone’s book that keeps the show coherent. And interesting. The first act opens powerfully, albeit very loudly, and moves quickly from crude exaggeration to incisive satire once the first lengthy book scene arrives. Carolee Carmello (Dickinson) and Patrena Murray (Franklin) shine here while Crystal Lucas-Perry is unconvincingly vexatious as Adams. There’s little staging invention until the second act which provides a turgid and ill-judged “Momma, Look Sharp” and a “Molasses to Rum” that is reasonably enlarged but poorly rendered. Alternately, “The Egg” is immediately, surprisingly stirring. And the show’s ending is as powerful as ever. Women, Native Americans and African Americans were all excluded, of course, from the Declaration of Independence. It makes great sense to have them running things here. But what’s good and bad about this version of 1776 seems to have little to do with this choice which, if it seems strange, is maybe progress.

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