1776 The Musical

1776 The Musical at The Soraya February 8-10, 2019.

Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Based on a concept by Sherman Edwards
Musical Direction by Jeff Rizzo
Directed and Staged by Glenn Casale
Featuring James Barbour, Caleb Shaw, Andy Umberger and Peter Van Norden

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and McCoy Rigby Entertainment present the award-winning and revolutionary 1776 THE MUSICAL at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya), February 8 through 10. 1776 THE MUSICAL, the Tony Award winner for Best Musical (1969) and has music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and book by Peter Stone. It is directed by Glenn Casale with musical direction by Jeff Rizzo.

This production of 1776 THE MUSICAL continues at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts through Sunday, February 3, 2019. The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is at 14900 La Mirada Blvd in La Mirada.

1776 The Musical The Soraya via www.nohoartsdistrict.com
Caleb Shaw (Thomas Jefferson), Peter Van Norden (Benjamin Franklin), and Andy Umberger (John Adams) (Photo: Jason Niedle)

Before Hamilton, there was 1776 THE MUSICAL, the electrifying musical about the founding of America. 

Featuring a thrilling cast, this Tony Award-winning smash begins with a deadlocked Congress. Its attempts to adopt the Declaration of Independence are boiling over in heated confrontations. Sound familiar? Spoiler alert: by the evening of July 2nd, the two sides are still miles apart!

Lin-Manuel Miranda said in Playbill, ”1776 certainly paved the way for Hamilton—not just in that it’s about our founders, but also in that it engages fully with their humanity. It’s also I think, one of the best books – if not the best – ever written for musical theatre in that you long to see them talk to each other. Which almost never happens in a musical. Most musicals, you’re waiting for the next song to start. That book is so smart, and so engaging.”

But remarkably, these contentious Founding Fathers harness their shared determination to do the right thing for a fledgling nation. Soraya Executive Director Thor Steingraber said, “The imperfect men who strived for a more perfect union — 1776 reminds us that democracy has always been a messy proposition filled with compromise and competing interests. I personally revisit this musical every now and then, and am stunned at how relevant it remains. In the end, the American spirit wins the day.”

Composer-lyricist Sherman Edwards said, “I wanted to show [the founding fathers] at their outermost limits. These men were the cream of their colonies. … they disagreed and fought with each other. But they understood commitment, and though they fought, they fought affirmatively.”

Edwards worked for ten years on his musical, when the Broadway producer of 1776, Stuart Ostrow, introduced him to book writer Peter Stone, who had written the films Charade, Father Goose, and would later write the musicals Woman of the Year, My One and Only, The Will Rogers Follies and Titanic.

When it opened John Chapman in the Daily News said, “A stunningly original musical. It is far, far off the Broadway path and far away in time. It is warm with a life of its own; it is funny, it is moving. The songs and lyrics are remarkably original.”

Walter Kerr said in The New York Times, “1776 is the most independent new musicals in years, and if you’ve got any character of your own you probably want to see it instantly, just to keep its independence company., it has a mind of its own. An original, strangely determined, immensely pleasing evening.”

The New York Post said, “In this cynical age, it requires courage as well as enterprise to do a musical play that simply deals with the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The result is a brilliant and remarkably moving work of theatrical art.”

1776 The Musical at The Soraya via www.nohoartsdistrict.com
1776 Company (Photo: Jason Niedle)

The Cast of 1776 THE MUSICAL will feature James Barbour as “Edward Rutledge,” Peter Van Norden as “Benjamin Franklin,” Andy Umberger as “John Adams,” Teri Bibb as “Abigail Adams,” Caleb Shaw as “Thomas Jefferson,” Ellie Wyman as “Martha Jefferson,” Nick Santa Maria as “John Hancock,” Peter Allen Vogt as “Samuel Chase,” Victor E. Chan as “Robert Livingston,” Brad Rupp as “George Read,” Gordon Goodman as “Stephen Hopkins,” Jason Chacon as “Dr. Josiah Bartlett,” Jordan Goodsell as “Charles Thomson,” Jordan Schneider as “Dr. Lyman Hall,” Jotapé Lockwood as “Lewis Morris,” Matthew Kimbrough as “Colonel Thomas McKean,” Michael Dotson as “Roger Sherman,” Michael Rothhaar as “Andrew McNair,” Michael Starr as “Richard Henry Lee,” Michael Stone Forrest as “John Dickinson,” Mitchell McCollum as “Reverend John Witherspoon,” Ted Barton as “James Wilson,” Rodrigo Varandas as “Leather Apron/Painter,” and Nick McKenna as “Courier.”

The Design Team for 1776 THE MUSICAL is as follows: Scenic Design by Stephen Gifford; Lighting Design by Jared A. Sayeg; Co-Sound Design by Leon Rothenberg & Phil Allen; Costume Design by Shon LeBlanc; Hair/Wig/Makeup Design by EB Bohks; Properties Design is by Kevin Williams. The Casting Director is Julia Flores and the Production Stage Manager is John W. Calder III.

Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)

Dates: Friday, February 8 at 8:00pm
Saturday, February 9 at 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sunday, February 10 at 3:00pm

Venue: Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)
18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330

Prices: Starting at $44. Prices subject to change.
By Phone: (818) 677-3000

1776 The Musical at The Soraya via www.nohoartsdistrict.com

About the Creative Team

GLENN CASALE (Director) Broadway: Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby (Tony Award nomination Best Revival) which was filmed by A&E and garnered two Emmy Awards. Off-Broadway: The Property Known as Garland starring Adrienne Barbeau, and Dragapella at Studio 54 (Drama Desk Lucille Lortel Award nominations for best Production). International: Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast (The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Russia), and The Wiz. Regional: Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Ballroom, Camelot with Rachel York and Lou Diamond Phillips. Wrestlers starring Mark Harmon and George Clooney, Bingo!, M, From the Top starring Carol Burnett. Los Angeles Ovation Award-winning Best Musical Anything Goes starring Rachel York, Brent Barrett, Sally Struthers and Fred Willard, Camelot starring Michael York, The Prisoner of Second Avenue with Jason Alexander. Television: ABC’s “The Faculty” starring Meredith Baxter and “The Wayans Brothers.”

JEFF RIZZO (Musical Director) has conducted countless musicals in many U.S. cities, Japan, and China. Recently: White Christmas at the Ordway Center in Saint Paul, H2$ and Mary Poppins at TUTS in Houston, and Cabaret at the Sacramento Music Circus. Jeff experienced the 2011 Tokyo earthquake and the nuclear meltdown doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He toured China in 2007 with 42nd Street, as well as the two-year run of the 2002 US National Tour, which played Segerstrom Hall and the Ahmanson Theatre. Jeff was the audition accompanist for the film of Dreamgirls. He musically directed Madison Square Garden’s The Wizard of Oz starring Roseanne, the subsequent national tour, and the Grammy-nominated cast recording starring Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt. He was associate conductor of the US premiere of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close at the Shubert Theatre in LA. Jeff toured three years with Annie, as associate conductor of the 2nd National Tour and conductor of the 4th National Tour. He has served on the faculty of the American Music and Dramatic Academy (LA campus) for thirteen years. As a composer, his work includes the scores for Jailbirds on Broady, Wanna Play?! (published by Baker’s Plays) and a new musical version of A Christmas Carol. With partner Eric Andrist, he co-founded the Musical Theatre Guild. Born in Utica, NY, raised in Sacramento, CA, and graduated from the University of Southern California.

About McCoy Rigby Entertainment

Celebrating its 25th Silver Anniversary season at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, McCOY RIGBY ENTERTAINMENT (MRE), is one of the world’s premier theatrical production companies. Headed by Executive Producers Tom McCoy and Cathy Rigby, MRE has produced over one hundred musicals, plays, and concerts featuring some of the biggest stars in the industry today.

In addition, MRE has launched several Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated Broadway, international, and national touring productions including: ASIA- Dreamgirls (Japan), Miss Saigon (China), Peter Pan (China) CANADA- Peter Pan (Vancouver) USA- Seussical the Musical, and Annie Get Your Gun, starring Cathy Rigby; Jesus Christ Superstar starring Carl Anderson and Sebastian Bach; Camelot starring Michael York and Lou Diamond Phillips, Happy Days written by Gary Marshall and Paul Williams. BROADWAY- ‪Frank Wildhorn‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬’s Jekyll and Hyde starring American Idol contestant and Tony Award nominee ‪Constantine Maroulis‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ and Grammy Award nominee Deborah Cox. Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby has made four stops on Broadway and received four Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. The A&E TV network premiere of Peter Pan received one Emmy Award and four Emmy Award nominations.

About Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)

The 2018-19 Season marks the eighth year the award-winning Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, which has quickly become one of the cultural jewels of the greater Los Angeles region. Under the leadership of Executive Director Thor Steingraber, The Soraya continues to expand its programming and outstanding multidisciplinary performances. The mission of The Soraya is to present a wide variety of performances that not only includes new and original work from the Los Angeles region but also work from around the world that appeal to all of LA’s rich and diverse communities.

Located on the campus of California State University, Northridge, The Soraya’s season offers a vibrant performance program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theater, family, and international events that will serve to establish The Soraya as the intellectual and cultural heart of the San Fernando Valley, and further establish itself as one of the top arts companies in Southern California. The award-winning, 1,700-seat theatre was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers and was recently cited by the Los Angeles Times as “a growing hub for live music, dance, drama and other cultural events.”

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Lisa Bianconi
Author: Lisa Bianconi

Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com