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A historic musical

Dino  Dela Rosa By Dino  Dela Rosa 

It is fitting that the historic musical “1776 ” is currently playing at the historic Ford’s Theatre. With an exuberant score and lovely performances, this Tony Award-winning musical, originally staged on Broadway in 1969, dramatizes the impassioned debates of the Philadelphia’s Second Continental Congress that led to the writing of the Declaration Of Independence.

Infused with patriotic fervor and much wisdom by Ford’s Theatre, this production features Brooks Ashmanskas in a brilliant performance as the stubborn and unpopular John Adams, Christopher Bloch as the good-natured Benjamin Franklin, William Diggle as Thomas Jefferson.

In the first act, Franklin, Adams and Jefferson gather the delegates in Peter Cisek’s impecable set that evokes the Second Continental Congress, Adams convinces them to separate from British rule. This he emphasizes in “Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve.”  But the delegates are squabbling once the proceedings starts.

They give their own opinions on why they should separate from British rule. It doesn’t help when John Dickinson (a superb Robert Cuccioli), the combative delegate from Pennsylvania vehemently opposes to the separation.

Dickinson are at odds with Franklin with Franklin as the most unpopular colleague. More complications arise when Edward Rutledge(an exceptional Gregory Maheu), the formidable delegate from South Carolina, who also opposes to independence; as he argues in “Molasses.” In the end, it is Franklin who is responsible for the signing of the Declaration Of Independence.

It is his passion and singular determination that makes him a hero of history.

There are many joys in this show which is among the reasons why it’s worth seeing. Kate Fisher, a lovely soprano, who play Abigail Adams, who gets to shine in her numbers, “Till Then” and “Yours, Yours, Yours.”  Buzz Mauro as the terminally ill delegate from Delaware.  Robert Livingston, comical as the undecided delegate from New York and Sam Ludwig, as a wounded Confederate soldier, in a chillingly-inducing number, “Momma, Look Sharp.”

I took American Government in high school but I learned more from this stellar production on how the Declaration Of Independence was formed. Indeed, a valuable lesson can be learned form our Founding Fathers. On how to fight for principles and what you believe in.

“1776″ Directed by Peter Flynn. Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards.

Book by Peter Stone, Till May 15. Tickets: 1-800-982-2787, www.fordstheatre.org.

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