Sneak Peek at New B'way 1776 Revival

By Harry Haun
and David Lefkowitz
July 2, 1997

The cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of 1776 performed numbers from the show and posed for photographers at an open rehearsal July 2.

The cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of 1776 performed numbers from the show and posed for photographers at an open rehearsal July 2.

Librettist Peter Stone told Playbill On-Line the upcoming production of 1776 would have few changes from the original: "We're making very minor cuts here and there. Oddly enough, we're putting in a line or two from the movie, to help clarify certain scenes."

Brent Spiner, the actor best known to TV audiences as Data on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," will play the central character of John Adams in this revival of the Tony-winning Best Musical of 1969.

No need to dump tea on the sidewalks of New York's 45th Street; parents will get a big break when the Roundabout Theatre's revival of 1776 opens Aug. 14: Half price tickets to kids aged 17 and younger, at every single performance.

Said Roundabout Theatre artistic director Todd Haimes, "Roundabout is committed to making theatre accessible and affordable for kids and their families, and 1776 is the perfect musical for every family member, no matter what age."

Half-price tickets for kids can be purchased at the Roundabout Theatre box office (1530 Broadway at 45th St.) or by calling (212) 869-8400. Only kids under 18 can use the specially coded tickets to see 1776. The show runs July 16-Oct. 12.

Spiner is better known to musical theatre fans as Franz, the disgruntled German-accented servant in Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George.

Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone's song and dance take on the signing of the Declaration of Independence will start previews July 16 (12 days after the Fourth of July) and will co-star Pat Hingle as Benjamin Franklin, Michael Cumpsty as John Dickinson and Gregg Edelman as Edward Rutledge.

Spiner plays the "obnoxious and disliked" Adams, whose singleminded determination to win independence from Britain for the American colonies nevertheless gradually wears down the resistance of his colleagues in the Continental Congress.

The cast also features Linda Emond as Abigail Adams and Lauren Ward as Martha Jefferson (the role that launched Betty Buckley's career). They are the only two women in the cast. Emond was a last-minute replacement for Cass Morgan, who broke her ankle in early June and has been unable to attend rehearsals. Emond made her NY debut in Manhattan Theatre Club's Nine Armenians, followed by Playwrights Horizons Baby Anger, which closed June 21.

Also debating the Declaration will be Merwin Foard as Richard Henry Lee, Richard Poe as John Hancock, Robert Westenberg as Dr. Lyman Hall, Tom Aldredge as Stephen Hopkins, Jerry Lanning as Rev. John Witherspoon, Macintyre Dickson as Andrew McNair, Kevin Ligon as George Read, Paul Michael Valley as Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Marcus as Robert Livingston, Michael Winther as James Wilson, Ric Stoneback as Samuel Chase, Guy Paul as Charles Thomson, Tom Riss Farrell as Lewis Morris, Michael McCormick as Caesar Rodney, James Lowenstein as Joseph Hewes, John Herrera as Roger Sherman and Michael X. Martin as Dr. Josiah Bartlett.

Scott Ellis, who helmed Roundabout's revivals of Company, Picnic and She Loves Me will direct the show. His Steel Pier is nominated for a Tony Award as Best Musical of 1997.

The musical director is Paul Gemignani, with orchestrations by Brian Besterman and choreography by Kathleen Marshall. Sets are by Tony Walton (Forum), costumes by William Ivey Long (Chicago) and sound by Brian Ronan (sound).

Tickets to 1776 are now on sale at the box office or by calling (212) 869-8400.