David H. Bell (The Hot Mikado) will stage the production of the musical about the humid days and heated debates leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Principals are expected to include Anne Kanengeiser (Ragtime and Eleanor) as Abigail, Kate Baldwin (Arena Stage's South Pacific) as Martha, John Leslie Wolfe (Evita) as Hancock, Trent Blanton as Rutledge, Michael Forest as Dickenson, Graham Rowat (Beauty and the Beast) as Lee. The cast will mix New York actors with DC actors. Cleale appeared in Off Broadway's A New Brain and Broadway's Once Upon a Mattress, Huddleston played Franklin in Roundabout's Broadway revival of 1776 and Ludwig appeared in Off-Broadway's john & jen and After the Fair.
Performances of the Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone show — embraced by conservative and liberals alike — will be 7:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday, 12 noon Thursdays and 2:30 PM Sundays. Additional scattered matinees have been added throughout the run. Call for details.
Designers are James Joy (set), Diane Ferry Williams (lighting) and Mary Anne Verheyen (costumes).
The musical, which has extraordinarily long and rich book sequences that boil down the arguments for and against independence, was a rare one-hit wonder for composer lyricist Edwards. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1969. A film version was later made, but Jack Warner notoriously cut out the "Cool, Cool Considerate Men" sequence, feeling it was too anti-conservative. It has been restored in the DVD release. Peter Stone told Playbill On Line 1776 is one of his most-licensed shows, but only in the U.S. — amateur and professional theatres abroad largely ignore it because its content seems to speak specifically to American people and of American issues.
For ticket information, call (703) 218-6500 or (800) 955 5566 or visit www.fordstheatre.org.