1776 Review & Giveaway!

As mentioned time and time again, I work at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Currently we are doing previews for the biggest show ever to be put on the Public's thrust stage. 26 cast members and 8 orchestra members come together, under the direction of Ted Pappas, for this outstanding musical. And I know I say this for a lot of things, but 1776 is a must see show. Let's put it this way. If you're going to risk your life driving in the crazy mix of ice and snow we've recently been hit with, it should be for 1776. And, at the end of this post, you have a chance to be able to do just that! Well, hopefully you won't have to risk your life to do so.

1776 runs until February 24th at the Public Theater.
No. I am not over-selling this production. Considering since the Public released it's list of shows last year for it's "Made in America" season for 2012-2013, I could not fathom that a show about the Declaration of Independence could be interesting, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I saw the final dress rehearsal on Wednesday night. As always, the set is beautiful and rich. I love the traditional look of all the wood and crown molding and as he did in Private Lives, James Noone designed a revolving stage that extends the environment of the musical very nicely. The lighting (Kirk Bookman) and costume (Martha Bromelmeier) designs are gorgeous. I love the differences in personalities of each character shown just through their costumes and the lighting is on point, creating just the right mood and picturesque scenes.

Now, like I said, there are 26 people in this show. So although every single on of them does a phenomenal job, I want you to actually read this post, so I'm going to keep this part as short as possible. Let's start with the ladies, since there's only two of them. Abigail Adams (Trista Moldovan) and Martha Jefferson (Libby Servais) both serve vital roles of the wives of John Adams (George Merrick) and Thomas Jefferson (Keith Hines) who either portray the longing of an old but now distant love or the sweetness of a fresh marriage. Martha also has an amazing number, "He Plays the Violin," that is possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. Libby is so tiny (very true to Martha) but she just explodes on stage. Trista plays a strong female character as Abigail, who never actually sees her husband during this time, but does correspond with him frequently through letters, or rather since this is a musical, through beautiful song.

All of the men of the Congress. Photos by Larry Roberts, Post-Gazette.
As for the gentlemen, the main standouts for me are, Adams, Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin (Steve Vinovich), Edward Rutledge (Hayden Tee), and the courier (Eric Meyers). George plays a lively persistent Adams practically begging for independence, while Keith portrays a young, shy and poetic Jefferson. (Was that too many adjectives for you?) Steve portrays Ben Franklin as a the kind of grandfather everyone wants to have, with little sly remarks and a humorously unmatched wit. I caught myself looking at him even when he wasn't talking just because his mannerisms were so good.

A passionate George Merrick as John Adams.
Hayden Tee, portraying the delegate, Edward Rutledge, from South Carolina, I could listen to all day. Everyone has a well produced accent but, damn, I kept wanting him to have a bigger part so he'd say more things. Typical girl. He really took his part to the next level with his song "Molasses to Rum." However, I was stopped cold after hearing Eric Meyers sing "Momma, Look Sharp." Here he is throughout the beginning of Act 1 only as the silent courier bringing messages back and forth from the battle field to the Congress. This part seems like an added element of humor until he has a break and begins to discuss with the custodian how his friends are dying in the war through this song. Trust me, he is breathtaking. And you will be thankful that intermission comes right after this song because to have to process anything after that moment would be too much. Meyers is hauntingly beautiful, you'll need 15 minutes to get out of your chair, grab a drink and remember that not every young man you know is being killed in battle.

Overall, you just need to see this show. Though not all of it is historically accurate, for the most part it is a well done representation of how our country began to gain independence, you know, with a few song and dance numbers thrown in. You never know, John Adams might have danced to get some votes back then. This show is just so impeccable. I appreciated that some awful times in American history, like slavery, were not left out of the show and that it is not just for history buffs but really anyone looking for an entertaining night of theater.

So, here's your chance to have a night out in the city, for free! If you win, not only will you receive two tickets to the opening night performance to 1776, on February 1st, but you and your guest will also be on the list for the after-show party. The after-show parties at the Public are fabulous, always well catered, with an open bar and of course the cast always makes their way in to greet guests, you're sure to have a great evening - the giveaway is below and open until Wednesday - goooood luck!
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  1. I would give the tickets to my beautiful loving caring girlfriend Karen and her friend Kristina. Because I love her... and I apparently cant get tickets myself.

  2. Hey Chels! It's Mandy. I hope all is well! If I win these tickets I will be taking the incomparable JonRo on a much needed date night :)

  3. This is awesome - I love seeing plays - there's something so romantic about it!

    Pearls & Paws

    1. Very true - a perfect date night idea for sure!

  4. Hello! I came across your wonderful blog and I'm your newest follower! :) Would you mind checking out our blog & following back via GFC and Bloglovin'? Let me know!


    1. Awesome! Thanks for becoming a follower, I will for sure check out your blog.

  5. Fun fact. The person who originated the role of John Adams on Broadway won a Tony for best supporting actor. He declined it, believing he was the lead. He would go on to star in the movie version and several other shows, including a well known show in the 90s where he played a principal at John Adams High; an obvious homage to his 1776 part. His name, William Daniels. That's right, Mr. Feeney himself. True story.

    Moral of the story: I know a lot about this show because I love it. I'm going to see it regardless, but I hope I get the tickets because, let's be honest, free is always better.

    Great review!

    1. I knew this was right up your alley - good luck!


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