Theatre Review: 1776

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Revolutionary War was a serious conflict. But “1776” begins with joke, told by founding father John Adams.

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called ‘a disgrace,’ that two are called ‘a law firm,’ and that three or more become ‘a Congress.’ ”

Thus begins one of the more unconventional shows you will ever see at the Music Circus. The cast features 24 men wearing wigs, mostly giving speeches. There are only two women. It’s like one of Shakespeare’s history plays about English kings. But in “1776,” the men start singing. 

(“All right then gentlemen, let’s get on with it. Which of us is going to write our declaration on independence?”)

There are songs, but there’s also an extended, half hour section of dialog, without music – almost a play within a play.

Clearly, “1776” is a deliberately unconventional show. But I enjoyed the way it breaks so many rules, and liked what it had say about who we are as Americans. “1776” is seldom staged – this is the first Music Circus production in 30 years. But if you want to catch it, move fast, because it’s only playing through Sunday.


"1776" continues at Sacramento's Wells Fargo Pavilion through Sunday, September 2nd.