I am the producer of "1776" In Concert, which will be staged this summer as a benefit for The Tower Theatre Foundation.
In response to Charles Buchanan's April 5 letter under the heading "Musical Interpretation Is A Drag," I would like to clarify what our production of "1776" is, as well as what it is not."1776" originally opened on Broadway in 1969 with a cast of twenty-three men and two women. Our production of the award-winning show will not be presented in what one might think of as the "traditional" manner for a musical, but rather as a staged concert, which will be a first for Central Oregon audiences to experience.
Twenty-four of our area's finest female singers will be accompanied by a full orchestra on the stage of The Tower Theatre. They will not be adorned with powdered wigs or attired in period costumes, but rather wearing contemporary black clothing, similar to what one might see performers in at a symphony concert.
Our production will, also, not be the first time that "1776" has been presented with an all-female cast.
As with any licensed theatrical property, an approval must be given by the agency representing the show's owners prior to production. In the case of "1776," the estates of playwright Peter Stone and composer/lyricist Sherman Edwards were contacted for approval. When Sherman Edwards' son Keith was first presented with the idea of allowing the staging of "1776" with a female cast, his reaction was not surprising. After all, the idea of a woman playing Benjamin Franklin was anything but traditional. He said,"This was a far cry from any production of '1776'ever done that I know of; however, after giving it some thought I developed a viewpoint. In this format the show's story can remain historically accurate, while at the same time be a 'sister' to the original that reflects our modern society. If the Continental Congress were formed today, there would undoubtedly be women members. An inclusive society is roughly what the founding fathers desired with the launch of the Declaration of Independence and although they did not emancipate slaves or women at that moment they prepared the way for both. So the all-female production, without eighteenth century costumes or set, is a natural evolution, an outcome of the original set in modern day."
I couldn't have said it any better.
It is my hope that Mr. Buchanan will join other Central Oregonians in June and attend "1776" In Concert at the Tower Theatre.
We're Making History!