Broadway star Robert Westenberg (Into the Woods, The Secret Garden) stars as John Adams in St. Louis' Muny's summer production of 1776. Performances end Aug. 1.
Westenberg already has 1776 credentials; he most recently appeared on Broadway as Georgia's Dr. Lyman Hall in the Roundabout Theatre's revival of the musical. He left the role to settle in Denver, Colorado, where he has played parts in Sylvia, Kingdom and a musical version of The Rivals at the Denver Center Theatre. Westenberg is best known for his performances as the Wolf/Cinderella's Prince in Into the Woods, Neville Craven in The Secret Garden, George in Sunday in the Park With George and his Theatre World Award-winning turn as Niko in Zorba.
Joining Westenberg are Victoria Mallory as Abigail Adams, Jeb Brown as Thomas Jefferson, Andrea Burns as Martha Jefferson and Jay Garner as Benjamin Franklin, a role he played in the original Broadway production of 1776.
Mallory, a frequent Muny performer (Hello, Dolly!, Guys and Dolls and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), performed Maria in West Side Story on Broadway as well as Lili in Carnival Young Heidi in Follies and Anne Egermann in A Little Night Music. Brown made his Broadway debut at 10 as a no-neck monster in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and starred in the Bye Bye Birdie sequel, Bring Back Bridie. Burns played Belle on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast. Garner, apart from 1776, starred in Broadway's Me And My Girl and Red, White and Maddox. He also played Admiral Asimov on the TV series "Buck Rogers."
1776, with music by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone (Titanic), follows the birth of the United States from debates in the Continental Congress to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Songs in the score include "Momma, Look Sharp," "He Plays the Violin," "Till Then," "Molasses to Rum" and "The Lees of Old Virginia." Before every performance, the Lewis and Clark Fife and Drum Corps will perform from 7-8 PM on the Muny grounds. An all-youth corps, the group plays early American music on replica six-hole wooden fifes and rope stretched drums used in the 18th and 19th centuries.
-- By Christine Ehren