Wed. Feb 8th, 2023

The scene at Independence Corridor imagined by Paulus for the musical is far completely different than it really seemed virtually 250 years in the past: there’s not a white man in sight. All of the characters are performed by a forged with a number of representations of race, ethnicity, and gender.

These performers, together with Black ladies and trans ladies, wouldn’t have been allowed to enter Independence Corridor on the time of the signing of the Declaration, however in “1776” they’re portraying John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, et al, as they interact in debate about separating from the British crown.

Paulus didn’t change the phrases of the unique musical written in 1968 by Peter Stone, saying new meanings spring to mind when these phrases come out of the mouths of people that weren’t thought of by the Declaration when it was written.
Sara Porkalob (heart) and the forged of 1776 carry out ”Molasses to Rum..” (Joan Marcus)

“There’s one thing about theater-making on this method that wakes up the viewers, that makes you take note of the language in a brand new method,” she mentioned. “We’re asking the viewers to be a companion on this, to embrace the core motion of the present as these people who find themselves radicals and revolutionaries doing one thing extraordinary, risking their lives to create a rustic based mostly on an concept.”

Paulus’ co-director, Jeffrey L. Web page, has roots in Philadelphia. He studied theater on the College of the Arts, and nonetheless retains in contact with a community of youthful individuals within the metropolis that he mentored as a scholar instructor. Web page is at the moment the artist in residence on the Philadelphia Theater Firm.

Web page was introduced on to do the choreography for the present, and mentioned Paulus requested him to co-direct the manufacturing. He mentioned he comes with a background of being Black in America, carrying the angle of the younger individuals he mentors.

“Most of those younger individuals in North Philly, most of those younger individuals in South Philly – simply being in Philly they’d haven’t any clue what the thought of 1776 is, as a result of traditionally they don’t perceive how they belong inside that narrative,” he mentioned. “Being a Black individual typically appears like you’re excluded from the narrative of 1776.”

Whereas Web page and Paulus didn’t rewrite the music composer Sherman Edwards had written for the musical, they found that the music had already been modified by the point the present opened in 1969. Web page met with Edwards’ son Keith who confirmed him the unique sheet music earlier than it was altered for the Broadway manufacturing.

“When it went to Broadway initially it remodeled his music into one thing that he didn’t intend for it to be,” Web page mentioned. “His stuff sounded to my ear like Lauryn Hill. It appeared like Amy Winehouse. It sounded in that realm.”

[1809] The corporate of Roundabout Theatre Firm’s 1776. Photograph by Joan Marcus, 2022Page mentioned he’s drawn to engaged on well-established musicals – he’s at the moment directing a manufacturing of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” in Rochester, New York – and discovering cracks of their time-tested constructions the place he can discover modern concepts. For 1776, he makes use of music and choreography to convey concepts that aren’t within the script.

“I feel phrases say one factor within the physique, within the sound of the phrases – they convey a counterpoint,” he mentioned. “I consider that once we communicate phrases, we’re really not saying one thing on the identical time. I used to be capable of actually dig into that.”

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