It’s the summer of 1776, and the nation is ready to declare independence…if only our founding fathers can agree to do it! 1776 follows John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson as they attempt to convince the members of the second Continental Congress to vote for independence by signing the Declaration of Independence. This fast-paced, high-energy musical puts a human face on the pages of history as we see the men behind the national icons: proud, frightened, uncertain, irritable, sometimes petty, often charming, and ultimately noble figures, determined to do the right thing for a fledgling nation. 1776 is a compelling drama with a striking score by Sherman Edwards and a book written by the legendary craftsman, Peter Stone.
Stage and television actor, Lou Ursone of Stamford, CT, makes his OSTC debut in the role of John Adams. His wife, Abigail, is played by Alison Mahoney, last seen with OSTC as Anna in The King and I. Roger Reed, who won rave reviews for his portrayal of Freddy in OSTC’s My Fair Lady, will play the role of Thomas Jefferson, with Sarah Elizabeth Pothier of Rumford, seen last season as Cinderella in Into the Woods, as his wife, Martha, and Mark S. Cartier of Bridgewater, MA, who last appeared in Breaking Legs, plays Benjamin Franklin. New York actor Ethan Paulini, seen in The Diary of Anne Frank, will portray Richard Henry Lee, and Christopher Swan, last seen in Breaking Legs, will play John Dickinson.
Joshua Christensen of Warwick will play Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon. Performers from nearby communities include Mike Daniels of Cranston as Samuel Chase, David Groccia of North Providence as Joseph Hewes, Aaron Dore from Fairhaven as Roger Sherman, JP Ferragamo of South Kingstown as Lewis Morris,Timothy Fine of North Kingstown as A Leather Apron, Tom Gleadow of Providence as Stephen Hopkins, Brad Kirton of Coventry as Col. Thomas McKean, Tommy Labanaris of Coventry as James Wilson, Daniel Larson of Smithfield as Charles Thomson, Kevin Patrick Martin of Cumberland as Dr. Lyman Hall, Jonathan Olivera of North Providence as Robert Livingston, Patrick Mark Saunders of East Providence as Andrew McNair, Fredric S. Scheff of East Greenwich as Josiah Bartlett and Grant Whitney of East Greenwich as the Courier.
Ocean State Theatre will present ‘1776’ from Feb. 24 – March 13. Previews are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 25 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., for $39 per ticket. Regular performances are $39 to $59. A free post-show discussion hosted byWCRI’s Mike Maino, will follow the 2pm performance on Sunday, February 28. The post show Piano Bar Series, hosted by Robert Miller, Jr., will continue following Friday and Saturday evening performances in the theatre’s lobby on March 4, 5, 11 and 12.