Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Directed by Beth Terranova
Performance dates: March 22 - April 20, 2013
Run time: 2 1/2 hours
The seminal event in American history blazes to life in this wonderful musical. It is the summer of 1776 and congress is ready to declare independence, if only our founding fathers can agree to it. John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson alternately woo and rage at their fellow delegates as they wrestle with the details of the Declaration and what it will mean to their individual states – their “countries”. Much of the book of this musical is based on actual letters and notes from the convention, more historically accurate than you might think, and the humor, passion and glorious music will make it an indelible history lesson that will fill your heart with pride and joy.
About the Director
Beth Terranova is honored to be directing her favorite musical, 1776, for her 32d outing with Colonial Players. She most recently earned directing kudos at CP for this summer’s One Act Festival favorite, Star Crossed. Previous CP directing efforts include She Loves Me!, Fin and Euba, and the highly acclaimed courtroom drama Hauptmann, for which Beth received the 2009 Washington Area Theater Community Honors (WATCH) award for outstanding director. Other favorite directing jobs include The Diary of Anne Frank (Dignity Players), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Annapolis Summer Garden Theater), A House Full of Fish (Playwrights’ Workshop, Cocoa Beach, FL), and Take Five (Phoenix Youth Theater, Melbourne, FL.) On stage, Beth was most recently seen at CP as Aunt March in Little Women and as Ellen in Two Rooms, which earned her a WATCH nomination for featured actress. She also has numerous backstage credits including producer, stage manager, set designer, and costume designer. She earned WATCH nominations this year for her costume designs for Cinderella Waltz and Going to St. Ives and a WATCH nod as producer of the nominated outstanding play Moonlight and Magnolias. Beth currently serves on the Colonial Players Board of Directors as Production Director, and produces CP’s “News and Cues” newsletter. In all, Beth has pursued her interest in theater on stage, backstage, and behind the scenes for over 40 years in four states and two countries. By day, Beth is a Program Analyst for the Navy’s Enterprise Resource Planning Program here in Annapolis, where she gets to exercise her right brain. But she lives for the left brain workouts theater provides! Beth dedicates her work on this show to her father, who took her to see her very first Broadway show 40-some years ago -- the original production of 1776.
About the Music Director
Theresa Riffle is excited to be working in the capacity of musical director for this production of 1776 and to be working with such an amazing, dedicated and talented cast and production staff. This is her first foray into musical direction at CP. Previously, Theresa has been active both on stage and off in a variety of roles including assistant director for Permanent Collection (Dignity Players) and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (CP); production manager/sound designer for Sight Unseen (DP); and stage manager/tech for many area productions. Favorite acting roles include Phoebe in Romantic Comedy, Evelyn in Kindertransport, Anna Hauptmann in Hauptmann, and Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, all at Colonial Players, and Tuptim in The King and I, Pasadena Theatre Company. Theresa works as an adjunct music faculty member at The Landon School in Bethesda, MD. She is also a singer and multi-instrumentalist in the local Irish band, O’Kane Mutiny. Theresa received her undergraduate music degree from The Ohio State University and is currently pursuing her Masters of Music. She is grateful to Beth for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful adventure. And, as always, Theresa expresses her love and appreciation to Jeremy and Josh for their boundless love, support and encouragement.
I first saw 1776 as a young teen. I’m not sure why I was immediately drawn to the show, but the story has become more meaningful to me with each passage in my life.
Throughout the years, I have come to appreciate more and more the enormity of the task our Founding Fathers set out for themselves and how remarkable their achievement was. Without the benefit of instant communications, delegates from widely disparate colonies with differing philosophies, distinct cultures, and divided opinions nevertheless compromised on significant economic, political, and moral issues and agreed to declare independence from a country which was at that time considered by many the most powerful nation in the world. These men of the Second Continental Congress signed a document which was in essence a death warrant if the revolution failed.
When I submitted to direct 1776, I had hoped that in this spring following a major election, audiences would be reminded how the courageous actions of a small group of men laid the foundation for the freedoms we enjoy today. I never anticipated a more serious reference to current events, but the comparison is difficult to ignore. Today, it seems the art of compromise, as well as the courage to act on it, have been lost. I see just the opposite – an increasing polarization of views preventing meaningful progress on critical issues. As I write these notes, we as a nation are nearly halfway through our fiscal year, and still our congressional representatives “piddle, twiddle and resolve,” unable to agree on budget appropriations for the year. As a result, our government employees have been working under a continuing resolution authority for almost six months and will possibly do so for the next six. In addition, we are now facing sequestration cuts through the end of the fiscal year as our president and legislators struggle to find common ground in balancing the budget. Indeed, it does seem “nothing’s ever solved.” Reliving the events of 1776 through this play has led me to wonder -- if independence were the issue before our current Congress, could we ever become the United States of America?
I certainly don’t presume the job of governing the country is easy or the answers are simple. The world is a more complex place 237 years after our country’s founding. I can only imagine the dilemmas and pressures facing our representatives as they grapple with conflicting priorities. But I can’t help landing on my favorite exchange in 1776 and wishing they could all hear it and act accordingly:
JOHN ADAMS: Mark me, Franklin – if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: That’s probably true. But we won’t hear a thing, John – we’ll be long gone. And besides, what will posterity think we were – demigods? We are men – no more, no less - trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would have allowed. John – first things first! Independence! America! For if we don’t secure that what difference will the rest make?
Terry Averill (Judge James Wilson) -- Terry has not acted in a musical since Camelot and Working in Roanoke in the mid-1980s! Time flies. In 2009, he directed a musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and he’s danced and choreographed a few times. But it’s a real pleasure for him to get back to singing after all these years. It is interesting that in 1776, Terry is playing one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the document that the 19th-century abolitionist John Brown (a character he has been portraying at the Smithsonian Institution) believed was the most important document ever written, other than the Bible! “Thanks to Beth and Theresa for casting both me and my partner, Dirk Geratz, a first in all of our years together.”
Nick Beschen (Dr. Lyman Hall) -- Nick has done numerous shows with Colonial Players over the past 20 years, including nine or ten appearances in CP’s A Christmas Carol. Favorite roles include Martin Chalmers in CP’s award-winning show Between Mouthfuls, two roles in Dignity Players’ production of Almost, Maine, and Horatio in Pasadena Theatre Company’’s Hamlet. Nick would like to thank Beth Terranova, our director, for the opportunity to perform in this production and, more than ever, his wonderful partner, Leigh, for all her love and support!! Enjoy the show!!!
Tom Bethards (Lewis Morris) -- Tom is thrilled to make his debut with the Colonial Players in this production. Previously, he has appeared many times with the Washington Revels, including the past three May Revels. He has also performed with Kinobe, the DC Labor Chorus, Orfeia, and several jazz bands in the Baltimore area at locations ranging from Cafe de Paris in Columbia to Germano’s Trattoria in Little Italy. While not making a fool of himself on stage, he enjoys studying jazz piano. He would like to thank, in no particular order, Jennifer Blades, Craig Sparks, Otis and Mandy at the cafe, Greg and Susan Lewis, and his friends and family for all of their support.
Nathan Bowen (Richard Henry Lee) -- Nathan is tru-Lee excited to be back for his third show at Colonial Players! By day, he is an operating budget analyst for the State of Maryland (honest-Lee more interesting than it sounds). You might have seen him before at CP as George in She Loves Me and Paul/Gremio in Kiss Me, Kate. Other local roles have included Will in Oklahoma!, Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Samuel in Pirates of Penzance at 2nd Star Productions. At Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, he has appeared as Moonface in Anything Goes, Billy in Chicago, Smudge in Forever Plaid, Tony in Copacabana, a soloist in Smokey Joe’s Café, Dennis in All Shook Up, and Gabey in On the Town. In September, he married the love of his life, and they live happi- Lee in Arnold with their two cats!
Danny Brooks (John Hancock) -- Danny returns to our stage after appearing in two of last summer’s one-acts, Improvisations and Nighthawks. He is a veteran of more than 75 productions, and his favorite roles include Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird), Juror #3 (Twelve Angry Men), Whiteside (The Man Who Came to Dinner), Niels Bohr (Copenhagen), Chater (Arcadia), Saunders (Lend Me a Tenor), and Felix (The Odd Couple). Thanks to his family for their love and support.
Rick Estberg (Charles Thomson) -- Rick makes his Colonial Players debut with 1776. He’s just returned from a four-year stint on government business in Brussels, Belgium. Prior to that, he took part in several shows with the Pasadena Theatre Company. His favorite roles include King Pellinore in Camelot, all three ghosts in A Christmas Carol, and Uncle Billy in It’s A Wonderful Life. His job and hobbies revolve around public speaking gigs: he is an accomplished Toastmaster, has given dozens of keynote speeches at security conferences across the country, has provided training seminars in eight NATO nations, and serves as a docent at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where he has told the story of Lincoln’s assassination to over 45,000 tourists. He wants to thank Beth for giving him this great opportunity to broaden his horizons, and he remains, “your obedient...”
Jim Ferguson (Caesar Rodney) -- 1776 marks Jim’s first time on stage since the mid-’70s, when he participated in a number of locally written shows at Chartwell Country Club in Severna Park. He also took part in skits at various officers clubs while in the military and appeared in Meet Me in St. Louis when he was in high school, 1800 years ago! He dedicates his performance to the memory of Dori, who was a history buff, and thanks his wife, Carol, for putting up with many dinner-less and lonely nights for three months so he could return to the stage in 1776.
Ray Flynt (Ben Franklin) -- Ray is a veteran of more than 60 community theater productions, including Pippin at Colonial Players and The Pirates of Penzance at 2nd Star. His favorite roles include Tony in The Most Happy Fella and Father Farley in Mass Appeal. Ray is the CEO of Travelers Aid International, based in Washington, DC. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America and the author of Brad Frame mysteries as well as the political thriller, Kisses of an Enemy. You can read opening chapters and short stories at www.rayflynt.com. Love to Rebecca!
Dirk Geratz (Painter) -- This is Dirk’s second time on stage with Colonial Players. He last appeared in the 2010 CP production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Prior to that he played several small roles in the 2007 Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. He has also volunteered as a supernumerary with the Annapolis Opera, appearing in Madama Butterfly and Carmen. Dirk is currently Vice President of the Murray Hill Residents Association and, when not volunteering, is an urban planner with the City of Alexandria in Virginia. He thanks his partner, Terry Averill, for all his support and encouragement.
Ron Giddings (Edward Rutledge) -- Ron holds a BA from Loyola College of MD in Theatre and Writing and an MA in Arts Administration from Goucher College. He has appeared in the area with Dundalk Community Theatre, Cockpit in Court, Dignity Players, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, Moonlight Troupers, 2nd Star Productions, Colonial Players, Phoenix Festival Theatre, the Maryland Arts Festival, and Standing O Productions. A former Artistic Director of CP and current Education Director, he has directed shows locally for Colonial Players (Shipwrecked!, Wonder of the World, Moonlight and Magnolias, and their inaugural 24-Hour Project: Months on End), Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre (Crazy For You, Sweeney Todd, their 40th Anniversary Celebration, and Urinetown: The Musical, which was awarded the Ruby Griffith Award for Overall Production Excellence in 2007), and Standing O Productions (On the Twentieth Century, The Retreat from Moscow, Counting the Ways, and Mr. Marmalade). “Thanks to my parents, family, and friends for being more supportive than I could ever express.”
Gary Glossop (George Read) -- Gary thanks Colonial Players for allowing him back on stage after so many years. He currently works as a colonial gentleman in Annapolis presenting colonial history at The Hammond-Harwood House, London Towne, and the Historic Annapolis Foundation. This love for history drew him to 1776. He thanks his wife for her love, patience, and support with this obsession for the 18th Century and with the rehearsal schedule.
Eric Hufford (Thomas Jefferson) -- Eric is thrilled to be back on stage at Colonial Players! He was involved in theater during high school and his freshman year of college, where he played Tom in School House Rock Live! He reconnected with his love for theater last summer as Pharoah in Drama Learning Center’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Following that, he played Daniel Beauxhomme in Red Branch Theatre’s Once on This Island last October. Colonial Players credits include Sheriff Joe Sutter in Spitfire Grill as well as Fred/Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Most recently he was Jesus in Opera AACC’s Jesus Christ Superstar. “I’d like to give a big thank you to all of my friends who continually come out and support all of my performances; it means a lot to me. Enjoy the show!”
David Merrill (Robert Livingston) -- David is excited to be making his Colonial Players debut. He received his Masters in Voice from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA and his Bachelors in Music from Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC. Recent roles include Sam in the opera Street Scene, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Camille in The Merry Widow, Edwin in Trial By Jury, Alexis in The Sorcerer, and Lamar in Godspell. Currently, he teaches middle school music and works with the technology team at Severn School in Severna Park. David would like to dedicate these performances to his influential mother, his wonderful girlfriend, his family, and his brother and father, who have both touched the face of God.
Edd Miller (Stephen Hopkins) -- Edd has worked with CP since the mid-sixties as an usher, sweeper, actor, painter, director, designer, whatever was needed/allowed. He feels very at home here. His many Colonial Players credits include: performances in Moon for the Misbegotten and Over My Dead Body; direction of Moon over Buffalo, Two Rooms, and Going to St. Ives; and set design for The Philadelphia Story, Chapter Two, and Sunlight. Edd is a 2012 Washington Area Theatre Community Honors nominee for best direction for Going to St. Ives and for best set decoration for Chapter Two. He feels his greatest reward from his association with CP was meeting his late wife, Dolores. After almost 50 years, he just can’t help it!
Kaelynn Miller (Martha Jefferson) -- Kaelynn is honored to be given the chance to portray such an influential redheaded woman in American history! 1776 actually manages to merge all three of Kaelynn’s passions (and fields of study during college): music, theater, and history. This is Kaelynn’s fourth appearance on the CP stage. Previous credits include A Christmas Carol, Moonlight and Magnolias (2012 Washington Area Theater Community Honors nominee for Outstanding Play), and Little Women. Offstage, she is usually found paying CP’s bills or sewing costumes. By day, she works for a musical instrument accessory wholesaler. Kaelynn sends love to her family for their lifelong support, her friends for their daily entertainment, and Wes for his never-ending patience and encouragement.
Ernie Morton (Dr. Josiah Bartlett) -- This is Ernie’s first appearance on the dramatic stage, for which he has his family to thank (they dragged him to the auditions while he was under the influence of prescription painkillers following surgery). After following his wife, Gwen, daughter, Lyann, and son, Sam, in “treading the boards,” he can no longer be referred to as “the only sane member of the family.” Ernie would like to thank the cast and crew of 1776 for their welcome and encouragement.
Vincent Musgrave (Roger Sherman) -- Vince is happy to be back on the CP stage after his debut, years ago, as Eddie in Blood Brothers. His work has been seen on many local, national, and International stages. Favorite roles include Chad in All Shook Up, Leading Player in Pippin, and Bobby in A Chorus Line. He has worked as a choreographer for shows locally and abroad, and is a recent WATCH Award nominee for his choreography in Rockville Music Theatre’s A Chorus Line. Thanks to the cast and crew of 1776 for their talent, and to Peter for his love and support. Enjoy!
Keith Norris (Samuel Chase) -- Keith is excited to appear in the Colonial Players production of 1776, proudly portraying Samuel Chase, delegate from the State of Maryland. He appeared in 2nd Star Productions’ award-winning production of Mame as well as Damn Yankees, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Oliver!, and The King and I. He also appeared with Pasadena Theatre Company in 1776, It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas Story, Jekyll & Hyde, and A Christmas Carol. Most recently, Keith appeared as Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace at Catonsville Dinner Theatre.
Sandra Rardon (Abigail Adams) -- Sandra is happy to make her second appearance with Colonial Players! Some of her favorite previous credits include Shelby Thorpe in CP’s The Spitfire Grill (2012), Diana in Lend Me A Tenor (2011) with Pasadena Theatre Company, Songs For A New World (2011) with Dignity Players, and Miss Sandra in All Shook Up (2009), Vi Moore in Footloose (2009), and Maria in The Sound of Music (2006) with Timonium Dinner Theatre. Sandra also appeared in the U.S. premiere of Girlfriends by Howard Goodall (2003). In addition, her voice may be heard on The Music Man JR. soundtrack produced by Music Theatre International, and on the original U.S. cast recording of Girlfriends. Sandra would like to thank Colonial Players for this opportunity and Shawn Rardon for his patience, understanding, and love! Enjoy!
Joshua H. Riffle (Courier) -- Joshua has recently arrived back from three years training at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, where he received his B.A. (Hons.) in Acting. While at school he appeared as Steve Hubbel in A Streetcar Named Desire, Charlie Baker in The Foreigner, Marcos in Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and Charlie Aiken in August: Osage County. Additionally, Joshua has appeared in many productions for Colonial Players, Dignity Players, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, and many other theatre companies in the greater Annapolis area. Joshua would like to thank Beth, and the rest of the production staff for this wonderful opportunity to work for Colonial Players once again.
Rusty Russell (Col. Thomas McKean) -- Rusty does not consider himself a singer, and yet he is zero for ten in picking non-musicals. Four productions of A Christmas Carol at Colonial Players and a half-dozen shows at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre are the extent of his theater experience. “I was pretty certain that the framers were not inclined to break out in song, yet here I am again ... faking the melody. I heard that they were looking for a bunch of grumpy, near-sighted, bow-legged old men who were willing to wear a wig, so I knew I was a lock. I hope you enjoy the show. I hear it’s pretty good.”
Timothy Sayles (John Dickinson) -- Tim has played a variety of roles at Colonial Players, most recently that of university president Matthew Gibbon in this season’s tense ideological drama, Sunlight. This is his second crack at 1776, having played secretary Charles Thomson for Pasadena Theatre Company in 2010. His most recent musical role was that of Lazar Wolf in 2nd Star Productions’ award-winning 2012 presentation of Fiddler on the Roof. A longtime member of the Sons of the Severn barbershop chorus in Annapolis, Tim supports his stage habit by working as editor in chief of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. He lives in Annapolis and has three indisputably brilliant grown children, two unarguably adorable grandchildren, and two undeniably cute cats. He thanks Beth and Theresa for this wonderful opportunity!
Jeff Sprague (John Adams) -- This is Jeff ’s fourth musical with CP, having appeared in Jekyll & Hyde; Kiss Me, Kate; and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. He has also appeared in numerous plays for the theater, earning a Washington Area Theatre Community Honors award in 2007 for his role in Kindertransport. Most recently, he appeared last Fall in Sunlight as Vincent. Other musical credits include Dexter the Interpreter in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, and Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes, all at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. He has also appeared at Dignity Players of Annapolis in several non-musical roles. By day, Jeff is an attorney with the federal government. He sends his thanks to the cast, crew, and production staff, and his love to his beautiful bride, Kathleen. E pluribus unum - out of many, one.
Daniel Starnes (Leather Apron) -- Daniel is thrilled to be in this show, which combines his two favorite subjects: chorus and history. A ninth-grade honor roll student at Southern High School, he participates in all-county and all-state choruses and has appeared in various musical theater productions. Some of his favorite roles have been in Aladdin JR. (Aladdin), The Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow), Annie (Rooster), The Annapolis Chorale’s Sound of Music (Friedrich), and five Colonial Players Christmas productions. When not on stage, Daniel enjoys ping-pong, DC Comics, and video games. Daniel would like to thank his mom and dad for their love, support, and transportation, the entire 1776 production staff, and our Founding Fathers.
Fred Taylor (Rev. John Witherspoon) -- Fred retired in 1996 with more than 30 years of service with DOD, and has been working ever since. Currently, he is “the voice” of the UMBC men’s and women’s basketball programs and works as a tour guide for Watermark. His main hobby is his six grandchildren, whom he loves, and spoils, endlessly. Secondly, he is the Official Town Crier for Annapolis and will be representing the “City of Anne” in the World Invitational Town Crier Championship in Kingston, Ontario in August 2013. Fred has been part of the Colonial Players theater community for many years. He has hung lights, worked backstage, continues to usher, and has appeared on stage in numerous productions. Favorite shows include Arcadia (Jellaby), Busie Body (Everywhere), Rebecca (Frith), Death of a Salesman (Stanley), and the 2012 edition of A Christmas Carol (Marley). Thank you, Beth, for electing me to this “Congress” and making me part of such a talented cast. A gazillion thank you’s also to Theresa, and the entire production crew of 1776. You are the best! Huzzah. New Jersey votes “yea.”
David Thompson (Robert Livingston) -- David is excited to be returning to the Colonial Players stage in 1776! Locally he has been seen in the titular roles of Sweeney Todd and Pippin, Molokov in Chess, Utterson in Jekyll & Hyde, Booth in Assassins and Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Thanks so much to Sarah, Violet and Garrett for everything!
Joe Thompson (Andrew McNair) -- Joe got his start Colonial Players as a member of the chorus in the 1969 production of Carousel and most recently designed sound for two of this year’s shows, Sunlight and Trying. In between, he acted, directed and worked on many CP shows and performed in musicals at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. He won a WATCH Award for sound design for a soundtrack of original songs he wrote for Bowie Community Theatre’s production of Dearly Departed. Joe also directed the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis production of Beauty and the Beast, first runner up for best musical in the British Players Ruby Griffith Award competition.
Gene Valendo (Joseph Hewes) -- After a lengthy hiatus, Gene returned to the stage in June 2012. He has since appeared with 2nd Star Productions as Mordcha the Innkeeper in Fiddler on the Roof, as Major Quimby in Bloody Murder, as Andrew Carnes in Oklahoma!, and as Dr. Hubert Bonney in It Runs in the Family. Earlier roles included Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls; Mr. Applegate in Damn Yankees; Ben Gant in Look Homeward, Angel; and President Roosevelt in Annie. He is thrilled to be making his CP debut in 1776, which tops his theatrical bucket list. Gene is a retired naval officer who supplements his meager pension by working as a psychometrist. He is a member of the Sons of the Severn Barbershop Chorus. He wishes to thank his cats for their understanding regarding the decrease in quality lap time caused by his rehearsal schedule.
The Production Staff
Lois Banscher (Properties Designer) -- Continuing in her third season at Colonial Players, Lois has previously collected props for nine CP shows. Lois has filled the stage with authentic props -- such as a horse hair fly swisher/swatter for this show -- that were secured from as nearby as the CP prop room and as far away as England. She is thrilled to be working with Director Beth Terranova, whose love for 1776 is beyond words. Beth dreamed a dream, and this is her dream directorship. It's very special being a part of this 1776 team. Now, if only we could make John sit down!
Robert Bates (Rehearsal Manager) -- RC has designed sets at Colonial Players for On Golden Pond (1998), Blood Brothers (2001), Is There Life After High School? (2002), and Kid Purple (2004). He has also been the stage manager for Arcadia (2002), Rebecca (2004), Assassins (2005), Splendour (2006), and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (2009). RC has also designed or stage managed several shows at Bowie Community Theatre. He is the Technical Director for St. Mark's Players in the current capital city, but is happy to be moonlighting in an older capital city on a show set in an even older one.
Wes Bedsworth (Producer, Sound Designer) -- Wes fell in love with 1776 at a very young age when his parents let him watch the movie on VHS. He subsequently passed many hours enjoying his mother’s copy of the soundtrack on vinyl, evidenced by its current “used” condition. Last year, when CP announced it would be including 1776 in its 64th season, Wes jumped at the chance to be involved. Several people tried talking him into being onstage for the first time in 1776; however, he dodged that long enough to avoid being cast and found his role backstage, both producing as well as engineering the sound and video projections you will experience today. He would like to thank his parents for introducing him to this musical, his sister, aunt, and uncle for coming from PA to see the show, and Kaelynn for being his beautiful real-life Martha.
Amanda Cimaglia (Choreographer) -- Amanda is thrilled to be working at Colonial Players for the very first time! A native Annapolitan, Amanda has performed in and/or choreographed over 50 local and regional theatrical productions. Her performance credits include roles in Chicago, Anything Goes, Cabaret, West Side Story, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fosse, All Shook Up, and A Chorus Line – to name just a few. Amanda has also choreographed for Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, St. Mary’s Elementary School, St. Mary’s High School, Annapolis High School, and the U.S. Naval Academy. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Loyola University, owns her own consulting business, and currently serves as the volunteer Development and Fundraising Officer for Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre.
Andrea L. Elward (Costume Designer) -- After appearing as The Laundress in A Christmas Carol at Colonial Players last December, Drea is back at CP as costume designer for 1776. Active in the local theater community for over 30 years, she has appeared in the Ruby Griffith Award- winning productions of Enter the Guardsman with The Colonial Players and Mame with 2nd Star Productions. Other credits include featured roles in Jekyll & Hyde, Assassins, Anything Goes, Annie, Me and My Girl, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Chicago, and A Chorus Line. As a workshop director and choreographer, she enjoyed bringing shows such as The Wiz; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Godspell JR; and Honk! JR into the lives of young actors in the Annapolis area. In her spare time, Drea can be found singing with the best rocked-up R&B blue-eyed soul band in town, “JoyRide.” She would like to thank her small army of seamstresses for all of their diligence and hard work in sewing and alterations to bring to life the Colonial ladies and gentlemen that influenced and shaped our nation.
Frank A. Florentine (Lighting Designer) -- Frank has an extensive background in lighting design from ballet to museums to special events to show caves. He was lighting designer for 25 years for the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum facilities in Washington, D.C. and near Dulles International Airport. He also designed lighting for three show caves in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Montana during the last 10 years. At Colonial Players, he was nominated for a 2012 Washington Area Theatre Community Honors award for best lighting design for Chapter Two and also designed lights for Sunlight. Frank designed lighting for the 9-11 Memorial of Anne Arundel County and, for the last 21 years, designed lighting for a sailboat in the Eastport Yacht Club's annual Christmas Parade of Lights. Frank worked in professional theater as a production manager, stage manager, and associate lighting designer and traveled nationally and internationally with several ballet companies, Frank is a Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society and Lighting Certified by the National Council of Qualified Lighting Professionals.
Shirley Panek (Stage Manager) -- Shirley has appeared many times on stage at Colonial Players. Over the last year, she has dipped her toes into the production side of things at CP as lighting designer for Chapter Two (2012 Washington Area Theatre Community Honors awards co- nominee for best lighting design), Moonlight & Magnolias, and Trying and now, as stage manager. Shirley would like to thank Beth for her dedication and infectious enthusiasm for the show and Wes for talking her into taking the job. Love to Drew, Emma, and Jeff.
Dick Whaley (Set Designer) -- Dick is back as set designer for 1776 after designing the set in conjunction with Director Ron Giddings for Shipwrecked! Dick has been involved with Colonial Players since 1951 and is the lead carpenter for all of our set construction. He has worked in many capacities in addition to set construction, including serving on the board, ushering, and working in the box office.
1776: Is it Historically Accurate?
Okay, so the members of the Continental Congress didn’t break into song to complain about flies, heat, and John Adams. Conservatives didn’t do a minuet extolling the joys of “well- endower’d wives.” Nor did Martha Jefferson, we can be pretty certain, sing to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin about her husband’s talents as a violinist. After all, when Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone wrote 1776, they were not composing a treatise about a seminal event in American history. They were writing for the Broadway stage, and they took some liberties for dramatic purposes. That raises questions about the historical accuracy of 1776.
Edwards and Stone, who conducted extensive research into 18th-century records, say they treated characters and events as accurately as possible while making changes for dramatic effect.
According to The Columbia Companion to American History on Film by Peter C. Rollins, there are inaccuracies in 1776, “though few are very troubling.” Rollins considered most of them insignificant, but noted some major departures from reality. For example, the removal of a section on slavery during final deliberations is depicted in the musical as the key to the vote on independence, but Thomas Jefferson had agreed to delete that section long before his document was approved. 1776 portrays a cancer-stricken Caesar Rodney returning from his sickbed in Delaware to provide a critical vote for independence. He did, indeed, have a cancer on his nose, but he was not near death and lived for eight more years. Nevertheless, events in 1776 are largely backed by historical records.
Lyrics to the songs sung by Adams and his wife, Abigail, come directly from their letters, which show that Abigail really did plead with John to send pins, while John exhorted the women of Massachusetts to make saltpetre. They did address each other as “my dearest friend,” and John did write a letter listing Abigail’s faults. Similarly, Gen. George Washington’s increasingly gloomy reports about the state of his army come directly from dispatches he sent frequently to Congress. Adams is portrayed in the play as “obnoxious and disliked,” a phrase he used to describe himself in a letter written years later.
Franklin is known to have dozed off during sessions in the humid hothouse that was the congressional chamber. He argued for the turkey as the national emblem and broke ties with his illegitimate son, the Royal governor of New Jersey, because of their disagreement over independence.
Edwards and Stone relied on historical records to flesh out the founding fathers as real people. Maryland’s Samuel Chase was known for his love of food and was referred to as “Old Bacon Face.” Rhode Island’s Stephen Hopkins, who swills rum in the play, had the nickname “Old Grape and Guts” because of his fondness for distilled spirits.
Fourteen years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Adams wrote to a friend his fear that: “The history of our revolution will be one continual lie from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin’s electrical rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington.”
Perhaps if Adams could watch this show, he would be pleased at the way his pivotal role is portrayed in the words and music of 1776. He might even approve of the way Stone and Edwards depicted not just the grand birth of the new nation by giants of the time, but also the foibles and passions and altogether human qualities that made them what they were -- a group of men who accomplished extraordinary deeds.