This musical commemorates the summer months of 1776, culminating with the signing of our Declaration of Independence. It is set in a hot, insect-ridden room in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
Any production of 1776 depends upon a uniformly skilled cast, and superlative actors playing Adams, Franklin and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina. In ACT’s cast, those roles are played by John Hickok, Andrew Boyer and Jarrod Zimmerman, respectively.
The play places its main premise squarely before its audience: our Founding Fathers were not solely starry-eyed idealists who wrote the Declaration in a sterile vacuum. They were fallible and sometimes unlikable men of flesh and bone. They were subject to disease, loneliness and personal defeat.
Standouts in the excellent score are: the poignant Mama, Look Sharp, the rollicking But Mr. Adams and the passionate Molasses to Rum.
Will Hickok surpass the great William Daniels’ portryal of John Adams in 1969? Time will tell.
1776 plays September 11 through October 6 at ACT, 405 Geary Street, San Francisco. Tickets are available by phone (415) 749-2228 and online.