A one-night-only concert version of the Tony-winning musical 1776 will be presented by Chicago's HealthWorks Theatre on May 13. The musical retelling of the signing of the Declaration of Independence will feature a unique twist for its Chicago staging: its three leading men will actually be leading ladies.
Acclaimed Chicago actresses Hollis Resnick, Alene Robertson and Alexandra Billings will portray, respectively, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge. Featuring music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone, others in the cast include Tracy Michelle Arnold, Diane Basmajian, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lili-Anne Brown, Maggie Carney, Kate Garassino, Tracy Gurtatowski, Elizabeth Laidlaw, Reyna Larson, Katrina Lenk, Dorothy Milne, Jamie Pachino, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp, Ryan Pfeiffer, Stephen Rader, Tania Richard, Lynn Roof, Brooke Sherrod, Lucia Spina, Sharon Turentine, Michelle Williams and Karen Janes Woditsch.
Chrisanne Blankenship-Billings and Peter Reynolds will co-direct the production, which will be presented at the Apollo Theatre, 2540 N. Lincoln Avenue, at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $45 and are available at the box office by calling 1-773-935-6100.
All proceeds from the event will benefit HealthWorks Theatre's touring HIV/AIDS and Youth Violence Prevention programs, which have been seen by over 500,000 young people throughout the country.
1776 premiered on Broadway in March 1969 with a cast headed by William Daniels, Ron Holgate, Howard da Silva and Ken Howard. Betty Buckley made her Broadway debut in the musical singing "He Plays the Violin." The Roundabout Theatre Company presented a revival that was nominated for a 1998 Best Revival of a Musical Tony Award. —By Andrew Gans