The Broadway-bound revival of the musical 1776, which begins a pre-New York engagement at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, next month, has announced a cast comprised fully of performers who identify as female, non-binary and trans.
The cast announced Friday was specifically for the A.R.T. production and might not necessarily carry over to the staging at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre on Broadway in September (or a U.S. tour set to launch in February 2023), but the news provides a clear indication of the production’s reimagined, groundbreaking approach.
First staged on Broadway in 1969, the musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence — and the so-called Founding Fathers — features music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone, based on a concept by Edwards. A film version was released in 1972.
The new staging will be co-directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus (with Page choreographing). In a Playbill interview posted on the A.R.T. website, Paulus, who directed Broadway hit Waitress, said, “Jeffrey and I are fascinated by the idea that history isn’t the clear or linear story we read in our textbooks, but instead, a predicament that we must grapple with in order to understand our past so that we can move forward together.”
Said Page, “As I’ve worked with Diane, we’ve explored the unsaid, unspoken, and unwritten history, and as a result I have found myself inside of the important piece of art, inside of American history, and I have learned something new about both.”
The A.R.T. production, co-presented with New York’s Roundabout Theatre, begins performances at Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge on May 17 and runs through July 24.
The cast announced today includes Gisela Adisa as Robert Livingston, Nancy Anderson as George Read, Becca Ayers as Col. Thomas McKean, Tiffani Barbour as Andrew McNair, Allison Briner Dardenne as Stephen Hopkins, Allyson Kaye Daniel as Abigail Adams/Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon, Elizabeth A. Davis as Thomas Jefferson, Mehry Eslaminia as Charles Thomson, Joanna Glushak as John Dickinson, Shawna Hamic as Richard Henry Lee, Eryn LeCroy as Martha Jefferson/Dr. Lyman Hall, Crystal Lucas-Perry as John Adams, Liz Mikel as John Hancock, Patrena Murray as Benjamin Franklin, Oneika Philliips as Joseph Hewes, Lulu Picart as Samuel Chase, Sara Porkalob as Edward Rutledge, Sushma Saha as Judge James Wilson, Brooke Simpson as Roger Sherman, Salome Smith as the Courier, Sav Souza as Dr. Josiah Bartlett, Jill Vallery as Caesar Rodney, and Grace Stockdale and Imani Pearl Williams serving as standbys.
The creative team includes scenic designer Scott Pask; costume designer Emilio Sosa; lighting designer Jennifer Schriever; sound designer Jonathan Deans; projection design by David Bengali; and hair, wig, and makeup design by Mia Neal.