I was going to use The Lees of Virginia from 1776 for my post about the south, but I don’t think there is a better fit for this showtune about the USA than in this weeks posts which are all about showtunes about US cities and states. 1776 is probably one of the most patriotic shows there is since it is about America and it’s fight for independence from England, doing these posts before memorial day is the perfect time for them. The song The Lees of Virginia is all about Richard Henry Lee deciding to get Virginia as the first colony from the south to join the fight for Independence, with a bunch of buttering up from Ben Franklin and John Adams.
The problem was that nobody in congress liked John Adams so him and Ben Franklin needed to find someone who was popular to come on board. The second issue they had is that none of the south would sign on to fight the British off for independence. Ben Franklin decided to play a mind game with Richard Henry Lee and get him to think that Virginia fighting for independence would be a good thing and that is when the song The Lees of Virginia starts.
Richard Henry Lee starts singing about how Virginia is the best Colon”eeeee” and uses a million other words that ends with a y or sounds like E. The show makes him sort of look like a redneck and someone who isn’t extremely smart, but at the same time they also show how him coming on board was one of the key parts of helping get the other colonies on board for fighting against the Bristish for US independence.
The song is all about how great Virginia is and how the Lee family is one of the first famileeees in the first coloneee of Virginia. It’s actually a really cute song that just about everyone loves to hear and sing a long to. You actually do end up hearing people start to sing a long in the audience when you watch this show which is kind of fun. It shows the Actors are doing an awesome job and even though it’s annoying to the people sitting next to you, it does mean that the show is really pulling people in.
“Wake up Franklin, you’re going to New Brunswick. Why the hell would I do that? For the whoring and boozing!” Then Ben Franklin goes running out the door. That’s only one of the fun quotes and lines from the musical 1776 at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. Tonight was the previews night and the cast was giving it their best. So how was it and would you go see it?
1776 is the story of the beginning of the American Revolution. The musical and cast made you feel proud to be an American. The stage was well done and the set was well designed with the hanging windows, the calendar that drops and the use of chairs, desks and tables. The singing was an average cast with no one that really stood out, except for the blond girl Erin Cruse who played Martha Jefferson. Her voice was absolutely wonderful during the song He Plays the Violin. Unfortunately her acting seemed a bit fake or off, but it was previews so the cast was adjusting still and I know she is going to completely kick butt through the rest of the run. Everyone has an off night and previews can be rough. She did an excellent job for a show in Previews and her voice was amazing.
Another notable Actor in the production was Christopher Block who played Ben Franklin. He brought the stage to life and was absolutely perfect for the role. He sort of reminded me of a Ben Stein, but with facial expressions and inflection in his voice and tone. His expressions, gestures and overall performance outdid every other cast member on stage. Some members were overacting, others disappeared, but nobody could stop watching Christopher on stage.
Abraham Lincoln's chair at Ford's Theatre
Overall the cast did a great job and made the 2 hour+ show go by fast. They kept the audience entertained and also brought us back to a time when America was ready to revolt. A lot of the issues that we faced back then seem to also be relevant right now. I love the opening line about 1 incompetent person, 2 incompetent people being a law firm and 3 or more being congress. It sounds a lot like out congress today. They talked about congress representing their own interests and treating the American people as a business instead of who they are supposed to be looking out for. Seeing 1776 in the Ford’s Theatre where Abraham Lincoln was shot and in Washington DC also added to the drama and effect of the show. I do recommend going to see the show, but if you are looking for amazing dancing, tons of effects and overdone shows, this is not one for you.
1776 at Fords Theatre in Washington DC is more of a classic show like Fiddler on the Roof that relies on acting, singing and costuming to entertain and capture you. The songs are great, but not high energy and the dancing is minimal. There is also a ton of talking instead of one song into the next. 1776 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC is worth seeing if you want to feel proud of being an American and learning about how the American Revolution got started. I give it 3 out of 5 stars and do recommend it. You can buy tickets to 1776 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC by clicking on the banners for Goldstar or Ticket Liquidators in the right hand side of this post.