"1776" Review - Broadway musicalThe musical is based on real events that took place during the signing of the Declaration of Independence in the USA. Sherman Edwards, a former high school teacher of history, has planned to make a play on this topic for a long time. He has already made the creation of several songs, included in the top ten songs of a state in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Edwards worked on the libretto for about 6 years. He came up with a proposal for cooperation to Peter Stone for several times, but after learning about the topic of the future musical, dramatist refused to take part in the establishment of production. Only hearing the author's song from the show, writer imbued with the idea of Edwards. Later, Stone said that from a song he learned of the Continental Congress more than he had been told at classes in school. Also a playwright realized – the founding fathers of USA would be shown in the musical as real people, not unreal characters. Despite the fact that the play has a lot of contrived scenes, it also contains the original phrases of the Congress delegates.
The show has the longest pause between songs that have ever appeared in musicals. In this 30-minute break, the Broadway musicians even were allowed to leave the orchestra pit. The song about the choice of an eagle as the national symbol was written at the last moment – Sherman Edwards was inspired by poster with hatched chick already made for the production of advertising. After the show was done, the American president Richard Nixon asked the authors to remove from the musical composition in which the wealthy delegates boasted of their wealth and power. Creators refused to do so. But from the movie of 1972, filmed on the basis of this performance, the song was cut off – R. Nixon was a friend of Jack Warner, who met the wish of the president. Attempt to destroy these footage frames failed. In 2002, with the restoration of the picture, negatives were found with the composition cut off the film. Song was placed on a DVD together with the motion picture as a bonus.
Broadway play has earned a lot of warm reviews. Critics noted that the musical was very bright and exciting. They appreciated the originality of the compositions by S. Edwards. In 1969, the Broadway production won two awards from the Drama Desk. Musical was rewarded with New York Drama Critics' Circle, Theatre World and Outer Critics Circle awards. The show received five Tony nominations and won 3 of them. In 1998, the second Broadway production was nominated for 1 Drama League. The musical has received 2 awards out of 4 categories presented at the Drama Desk. Staging was thrice nominated for the Outer Critics Circle and Tony.
Minimum box office was received in July 1997 – it amounted to 150,045 dollars. The maximum amount – $ 587,629 – was received at the end of December 1997. Creating a musical on a historical theme was quite a risky step not to make the show boring. It is surprising that on this basis, the authors were able to make such a lively and energetic show!
Last Update:August, 17th 2016