Feinstein’s/54 Below present an all-female concert production of the Tony Award-winning musical 1776 February 20, Presidents' Day, at 7 PM and 9:30 PM.
Jenny Leon directs the Sherman Edwards-Peter Stone musical at the New York nightspot with music direction by Emily Marshall. Shoshana Feinstein produces.
The cast is headed by Carolee Carmello (Tuck Everlasting, Finding Neverland) as John Adams, Rema Webb (The Color Purple, Violet) as Abigail Adams, Arielle Jacobs (Aladdin, Wicked) as Martha Jefferson, Britney Coleman (Sunset Boulevard, Beautiful) as Thomas Jefferson, Krystina Alabado (American Psycho) as the Courier, Bonnie Milligan (Gigantic, Kinky Boots) as Richard Henry Lee, Andréa Burns (On Your Feet, In the Heights) as Edward Rutledge, Kate Rockwell as John Dickinson, and Mary Testa (First Daughter Suite, Xanadu) as Benjamin Franklin with Amy Jo Jackson, Bre Jackson (The Color Purple, The Book of Mormon), Allison Posner, Sharone Sayegh, Angela Travino, and Amanda Savan.
This is not the first time an all-female cast has taken on the historic musical in concert. In 2010, Kansas City’s Musical Theater Heritage became the first organization granted permission by the estate of the show’s writers to present 1776 with a cast of women.
“In this format the show's story can remain historically accurate, while at the same time be a ‘sister’ to the original that reflects our modern society,” Keith Edwards, son of the late Sherman Edwards, told Playbill.com at the time. “If the Continental Congress were formed today, there would undoubtedly be women members as well as minorities. An inclusive society is roughly what the Founding Fathers desired with the launch of the Declaration of Independence, and although they did not emancipate slaves or women at that moment, they prepared the way for both.”
The concerts benefit the D.C.-based non-profit Running Start, which grew out of the Women Under Forty Political Action Committee (WUFPAC), and financially supports young women running for office. For more information click here.
1776, based on the arguments and politics involved in the signing of the Declaration of Independence, opened on Broadway in March 1969, playing 1,217 performances before closing February 13, 1972. With a score by Edwards and a book by Stone, the original cast featured William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Betty Buckley, David Ford, Ronald Holgate, Ken Howard, and Virginia Vestoff. Peter H. Hunt directed the 1972 film, which featured many of the original Broadway cast members, including Daniels, Da Silva, and Howard. Directed by Scott Ellis, a 1997 revival for the Roundabout Theatre Company starred Tom Aldredge, Michael Cumpsty, Dashiell Eaves, Gregg Edelman, Pat Hingle, Linda Emond, Merwin Foard, Brent Spiner, Paul Michael Valley, and Lauren Ward.
1776, according to previous production notes, “follows John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia as they attempt to convince the members of the second Continental Congress to vote for independence from the shackles of the British monarchy by signing the Declaration of Independence.”
(Updated February 20, 2017)