Patriotic emotion
-Gordon Olde

Passionate Sage
-Stephanie Souders

Revival experiences
-Stephanie Fine

St. Elsewhere Allusions
-Michael Rudolf

Running into Adams
-Emelia Hawk

Fan Page

This is the Fan Page. The purpose of this page is to hear stories and ideas about 1776 from its fans. Here's how it works. Do you have an experience from a production of 1776? Maybe you were in it, or know someone who was. You might want to write a review. Or you can even discuss some real historical issues. Basically if you have something long to say about 1776, too long for the message board, I'd like to put it here for everyone to read. So please email me your story at my regular address:, and in the subject write "Fan Page".

I was dragged (kicking and screaming) to the Broadway NY production in 1968 (or so) by my twin brother who insisted I would like "a musical about the signing of the Declaration". It didn't sound any good to me, but I went to satisfy his insistence (he had seen it already). We showed up moments before curtain-up and were able to get front row center seats normally reserved for VIPs since these seats had been released (unused) just moments before showtime.

I have never forgotten (I was 16 at the time) looking up into the eyes of William Daniels (playing John Adams) as he was at the front of the stage singing "Is Anybody There" from one knee at the end of the play. I felt as though it WAS 1776 at that moment, and I was ready to fight the Revolution all by myself.

That play, at that moment in my life, solidified the patriotic emotion I always felt (and still feel). I ended up in the US Air Force serving proudly for 20 years as a fighter pilot.

Needless to say, my brother was right. I intend to find a live-stage production and take my children to it soon. Needless to say, my brother was right.

Gordon Olde

Soon after I re-established my old obsession with 1776, I started to do a little reading on the Revolutionary era, on John Adams in particular. I checked a book out of the library by the name Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (Joseph J. Ellis) and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I must of course give credit to historian Ellis for his incredible writing, but it is Adams himself, despite two centuries separation, that brings the most interest to the narrative.

1776 does not give you the half of it, although what it does give is remarkably accurate. After Passionate Sage, I've read two other books on Adams and am half way through a third with no discernible end to my desire for more information. John Adams was a remarkable, remarkably funny human being, possessing enough foibles for ten people but enough strengths for twenty. He impresses me as a man of amazing intellectual energy, warmth, honesty, humor and above all, INTEGRITY. He was also headstrong, quick tempered, slightly paranoiac, "obnoxious and disliked." :-) Afterall, he was a man, not a demigod. Besides, Adams demonstrated several times during his term in public service that stubborn independence could be seen as an honest virtue. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment as President of the United States was his unilateral decision to negotiate a peace with France, rather than throwing the young America into a European war. This was Washington's admonition to remain neutral put into practice. It also cost Adams his career.

Passionate Sage is a good book with which to begin a recreational study on Adams. It only covers Adams' retirement, but in spite of that, it gives an entertaining and readable sketch of his personality. Of his oppositional style of thought- "One can almost see him hunched over Wollstonecraft's book in the library at Quincy, his hands shaking from the combination of palsy and excitement, the walls around him laden with books that had also received the same furious attention, most of the authors, including Mary Wollstonecraft, long since dead, but the ideas contained in the books still alive, simultaneously enlightening and deceiving nations and mankind, waiting for the shaky pen of the cantankerous patriarch to deliver its verdicts, the old man arguing with the books into the night." Of his correspondence with Jefferson- "One might conjure up the picture of a stately Jefferson, gazing calmly into the middle distance, while Adams, slightly frenzied, briskly paces back and forth, periodically tugging on Jefferson's lapels, slapping him on the back, whispering admonitions in his ear, filling up the Jeffersonian silences with talk." Of his personal dimension- "The very same emotional excesses that so often got him into trouble in public life- his candor, flat-out style of argument, and proclivity to engage whenever challenged- usually had the opposite effect in private life. Most of those who came within his orbit, even when that orbit was delineated by his withering criticisms and hostile opinions, ended up concluding that Adams was irresistably likable." This is what I've concluded, and I think any who gets a chance to read Passionate Sage, or any other book on Adams for that matter, will come to the same conclusion.

Stephanie Souders (futuremd@WPI.EDU)

I have to start out by saying that before October of last year, I didn't know much about 1776. I had a vague memory of having seen it at the Paper Mill Playhouse (Millburn, New Jersey) back in 1987. And I discovered that fact while doing some research on 1776 at the Library of the Performing Arts in New York earlier this year. Research in which I learned a fair amount about 1776 and its background, having read a couple of versions of its script. I must also admit that my original reason for my first ticket for the 1997 revival of 1776 was Brent Spiner. Having said that, I'd like to tell you about my experiences.

I was at a Star Trek convention in July of last year and a couple of friends mentioned that Brent Spiner was going to be doing a revival of 1776 in New York. I was pleased to hear that Spiner was coming back to Broadway after a twelve year absence, I never thought I would have the chance to see him on stage. I investigated and discovered that the revival was being done by the Roundabout Theatre Company and that it was going to be a limited run through October 19th. The next day I went down to New York to Roundabout to try to get tickets. I was able to get tickets and they were great seats, second row -center, but these tickets were for October 1st. I figured it was worth waiting a few months.

October 1st came and I went to Roundabout. I wondered what was in store. Back then I had not done any research, so I had no idea what type of production 1776 was other than that it was a musical. I have to say from the first moment right down to the last I was absolutely captivated. It's amazing how compelling an event in history that we all know about can be. I guess part of it is seeing people that we've all read about in history books and the like come alive and have the chance to learn a little bit about them. I was extremely impressed with the entire production from the entire cast, who were all phenomenal lead by Brent Spiner's phenomenal John Adams, to costumes and sets. Another thing that impressed me was the small orchestra (eight pieces) that didn't sound that way at all. It has always impressed me what a first rate job Roundabout does with their productions, since they are a non-profit. I had been a Roundabout subscriber in the past, so I was already familiar with them. 1776 was the first time in a number of years that I had the pleasure of seeing their great work. I had the chance to meet Brent Spiner that night, which made a memorable evening even more special. I was quite sad when I read in the New York Times on October 9th that the transfer of 1776 to the Gershwin Theatre, on Broadway, was not going to be taking place. I decided that if 1776 was going to close after its run at Roundabout that I wanted the chance to see it a second time. On a trip down to New York shortly after the article ran, I purchased another ticket. This one was hard to come by because of the great demand for tickets for 1776

I was ecstatic to read in the Times on October 30th that 1776 would indeed be transfering to the Gershwin. Shortly after that fantastic news, on November 6th, I went to see 1776 again. Once again I was mesmerized. One of the things that made that second time at Rounabout extra special was the knowledge of the transfer finally succeeding and the elation of that accomplishment. I had the chance that evening to talk to one of the ushers who had been with the cast during rehearsals and learned a little bit about the cast. Which was fascinating. The second time 1776 had even more impact on me than before. One finds oneself rooting for Adams, Franklin, Jefferson and their colleagues to accomplish their goal.

Shortly after 1776 opened at the Gershwin Theatre, I decided I wanted to see it again. I was curious what differences there would be in the larger Gershwin. I also wanted to have a one last chance to see Brent Spiner. I did so on February 15th. Once again it was fabulous. I was very impressed with the new set design necessary in the larger Gershwin with its doors on either side of the housefront and the flags of the colonies on each wall. The transfer to the larger Gershwin also allowed for a few surprises such as the fantastic restaging of "The Lees of Old Virginia". The one thing I discovered that afternoon was something interesting. Which was that, for me, 1776 was a look behind history itself into the struggles, victories and sacrifices that made the Declaration of Independence. I have always been one for meeting performers after a show and a frigid February afternoon did not stop me. I had the chance to meet Michael Cumpsty and Guy Paul and was greeted by Paul Michael Valley.

Then came the March 1st departure of Brent Spiner, Pat Hingle and Linda Emond. I was unable to be at their final performance, which I deeply regretted. I regularly read ratm and had seen various posts as well as items elsewhere about the March 4th cast changes. The net reviews and the like had me curious about what effect the cast changes had on 1776. So in mid-April, I purchased a ticket for May 21st. I also must admit that I realized back in February that this revival and its phenomenal cast had me hooked and wanting for more.

I next saw 1776 on May 21st. Once again it was fabulous. The cast changes of March 4th kept the production strong. As if this revival could have ever been anything else but. Michael McCormick was great. His Adams was more cantankerous and disagreeable than Brent Spiner's closer to William Daniels portrayal from what I've read on ratm and elsewhere. David Huddleston was also great, a fitting successor to Pat Hingle. I had the chance to meet Gregg Edelman that evening. Which I had hoped to as Gregg had won the Drama Desk For Featured Actor in a Musical earlier that week.

Having said all that I was very troubled throughout this period by 1776's fluctuating box office numbers. I hoped that the drop in attendance wasn't purely because of the cast change. 1776 is an ensemble piece which should not be star driven. A revival such as this one where the original production was so celebrated is always going to have a hard time proving itself. A week after I saw 1776 on the 21st, I went back for another ticket for later on in the summer. They were only selling tickets up until September 1st, so I got a ticket for mid-August. It troubled me that they were only selling tickets up to a certain date. Was 1776 doing that badly, I hoped not. Then came the 1998 Tony Awards and unfortunately 1776 lost in all the categories in which it was nominated. I was very upset. But the worst was yet to come.

On June 10th I read on PlayBill Online that the closing notice had gone up for 1776 and the final performance would be Sunday, June 14th. The next day I went down to New York to the Gershwin hoping hoping to get tickets for the final performance Sunday evening. Fortunately, I was successful. But that's a another story.

Stephanie Fine

As a fan of the movie "1776" and the television series "St. Elsewhere," both of which feature the inimitable William Daniels, I wonder if anyone ever noticed the allusions to "1776" in one episode of the TV show.

Unfortunately, I don't recall the exact episode, but I do recall the dialogue (at least it's close).

Dr. Mark Craig (Daniels) and his wife have traveled from Boston to Philadelphia for an event at Craig's alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. While in the city, they take a leisurely walk through the courtyard behind Independence Hall. Craig muses to his wife, "Every time I come here I feel like singing and dancing."

Later in the same scene, Craig wonders aloud why he does not get along with his colleagues at St. Eligius. His wife explains it thus: "You're obnoxious and disliked."

Michael Rudolf (

When I was very small my father purchased an original Broadway cast recording of "1776" to prepare me for the upcoming arrival of the first national touring company in Memphis, TN. By show night I knew the story and score and I was mesmerized during the performance. As we left the theatre the cast was making a swift exit from the stage door onto the tour bus and I ran full body into John Adams. It was love at first blow.

I suppose I was one of a handful of children who watched "Adams Chronicles" on PBS with absolute devotion and managed to work John Adams into almost any history paper I ever had to write. I was only slightly less wild over Thomas Jefferson.

As an additional result of my trips to see early touring companies of "1776", "Man of LaMancha", and "Fiddler on the Roof" I became a theatre bug. I stage managed, crewed shows and sometimes acted, my best musical role being the Housekeeper in "LaMancha". I have been dresser for Benjamin Franklin in '76 and floor manager, as well as an unsuccessful attempt to become a member of the cast in yet another production. If anyone needs the best courier boy ("Mama, Look Sharp") I have ever seen, including professional productions, feel free to contact me.

Another result of my contact with "1776" has been a love of American and English history which caused me to want to know my family's part in it. Thus, I started climbing my family tree. I now have a completed and approved DAR line and another ready to go into DAR for approval.

When Richard Henry Lee sings "The Lees of VA" and rides off to Williamsburg, VA to get a "resolution on independency" my family comes into it. My six times great grandfather is the brother of Edmund Pendleton and my six times great grandmother is a first cousin to Edmund Pendleton and her husband. When Richard Henry Lee gallops back into Philadelphia, waving his hand in glory he is carrying the critical Resolutions on Independence which are signed by Edmund Pendleton, President of the VA House of Burgesses. Edmund Pendleton had been a member of the First Continental Congress and was to have been a member of the Second, but a fall from a horse shortly before departure, broke his hip, crippled him for life, and prevented his going to Philadelphia. Some information I have seen has attributed Edmund Pendleton with the authorship of the Resolutions. Others say it was George Mason. Either way, Thomas Jefferson used them almost word for word in the Declaration. Edmund Pendleton was still President of the ruling body of VA when the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified by that body. Since Edmund Pendleton had no children I suppose I am as closely related to him as anyone living. He is both my six time great grand uncle and my first cousin eight times removed. Anyway, I feel I have a personal stake in "1776".

I also persisted in dating short, dark, men and sometimes tall, thin ones. Finally, I married a large, pale, freckled Dutch/German. He is "committed and requires the commitment of others", " is always the first in line to be hanged" and is "obnoxious and disliked". In some crazy way those attributes have always appealed to me, although they can be, admittedly, hard to live with. I can only attribute my taste in men, theatre, and hobbies to a full body blow from John Adams on the sidewalk beside the theatre.

Emelia Hawk (

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