Methacton Community Theater is closing its 2011 season with the classic musical, 1776 by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone. 1776 is, of course, a dramatic retelling of the months prior to the ratification and signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, PA, from the perspective of John Adams. Much of the action takes place in the meeting hall in what is now known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia, with all of the historical figures in attendance drinking, fighting and politicking.
The show opens with the meeting hall empty, a very classic look of the tables and an impressive voting board upstage center. The cast enters through several entrances during the overture, a very impressive opening. We are introduced to John Adams (John Corkum, who gives a fine performance as the imperious representative who inspires much scorn among his fellow delegates) in the opening number, “For God’s Sake, John, Sit Down”. This also allows the audience to meet many of the other delegates, and gives a preview of who is friend or foe to the idea of revolution.
Adams is both narrator and major player in the Continental Congress, and Mr. Corkum handles both duties quite well. Other characters include Benjamin Franklin (Don Henry, who keeps Franklin from getting too serious with his witty stories and celebrated lust for life), Stephen Hopkins, the delegate from Rhode Island (Warren Shuey, who brings a boisterous character to play), John Dickinson from PA (Victor Utz, who oozes with a sardonic self-absorption), and Thomas Jefferson (Jude Adams, who accentuates Jefferson’s conflicted sense of duty and inherent shyness.)
One of the highlights of the show is the number “Molasses to Rum”, by Edward Rutledge of South Carolina (Greg Kasander), a dynamic and intense message to the congress that had the audience rapt in their attention.
Another beautiful moment is the quiet and thoughtful “Momma Look Sharp” sung by the Courier (T. J. Mascio) and the custodian McNair (Bo Sayre.)
Overall this is a fine production. The first act runs long (about 105 minutes) so be prepared for a lengthy time before a break. Overall with intermission it runs about 3 hours, which is pretty standard for the older musicals.
Methacton Community Theater brings a piece of our history to life, and it’s well worth the trip to experience this look into our beginnings. Congratulations to cast and crew for a fun night of theater.
by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone
Directed by Michelle Miller and Loretta Rurode
October 7 – 16, 2011
Methacton Community Theater
Shannondell Performing Arts Center
10000 Shannondell Blvd