Celebrate 51 Years of Broadway’s 1776, Starring Betty Buckley and William Daniels

Photo Features   Celebrate 51 Years of Broadway’s 1776, Starring Betty Buckley and William Daniels
 
The original production, directed by Peter Hunt, opened at the 46th Street Theatre March 16, 1969.
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Ronald Holgate and cast Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

The original Broadway production of 1776 opened at the 46th Street Theatre March 16, 1969. Directed by Peter Hunt, the musical played five previews and 1,217 performances before closing February 13, 1972. The music would garner five Tony nominations, winning three, including Best Musical.

With a score by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone, 1776 tells the story of America’s founding fathers and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The production featured musical staging by Onna White, scenic and lighting design by Jo Mielziner, and costume design by Patricia Zipprodt.

1776 starred William Daniels as John Adams, Clifford David as Edward Rutledge, Paul Hecht as John Dickinson, Roy Poole as Stephen Hopkins, Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin, Emory Bass as James Wilson, Duane Bodin as George Read, Betty Buckley as Martha Jefferson, William Duell as Andrew McNair, David Ford as John Hancock, Robert Gaus as Caesar Rodney, Ralston Hill as Charles Thomson, Ronald Holgate, Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson, Scott Jarvis as the Courier, Ronald Kross as Lewis Morris, Henry Le Clair as Robert Livingston, Edmund Lyndeck as Rev. John Witherspoon, Bruce MacKay as Col. Thomas McKean, Jonathan Moore as Dr. Lyman Hall, Philip Polito as Samuel Chase, Dal Richards as Dr. Josiah Bartlett, Charles Rule as Joseph Hewes, B.J. Slater as Leather Apron, Virginia Vestoff as Abigail Adams, and David Vosburg as Roger Sherman.

The musical was revived in 1997 by Tony nominee Scott Ellis with musical staging by Kathleen Marshall. City Center Encores! presented the musical in 2016 featuring John Behlmann as Thomas Jefferson, Nikki Renée Daniels as Martha Jefferson, André De Shields as Stephen Hopkins, Santino Fontana as John Adams, Alexander Gemignani as Edward Rutledge, John Larroquette as Benjamin Franklin, Christiane Noll as Abigail Adams, Bryce Pinkham as John Dickinson, and Jubilant Sykes as Richard Henry Lee. Check out video of that production below.

As previously reported, Roundabout Theatre Company will partner with American Repertory Theater on a revival of 1776, slated to arrive on Broadway in spring 2021 at Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre, directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.

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