The Founding Fathers take the stage as Pioneer Players presents: 1776 The Musical

March 22, 2018
Logan Eigenberger as Edward Rutledge, Corbin Schroeder as Benjamin Franklin, Hailey Bradshaw as John Hancock, Ian Duff as Thomas Jefferson, Blair Schuler as John Dickinson, and Ross Spadaro as John Adams.
Blair Schuler, Logan Eigenberger, Hailey Bradshaw, Corbin Schroeder, Ross Spadaro and Ian Duff.

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Department of Performing and Visual Arts-Theatre and Pioneer Players will continue their 2017-18 production season with the 1969 Tony-winning musical “1776.” With book by Peter Stone and music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, the musical dramatizes the efforts of John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in the fight for American independence in the summer of 1776.

Performances are Friday, April 6, Saturday, April 7 and Thursday, April 12-Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, April 8 and Sunday, April 15 performances are at 2 p.m. There also will be a special matinee at 11 a.m. on April 11. All performances will be held in the Brodbeck Concert Hall in the Center for the Arts at UW-Platteville.

According to Dr. Ann Dillon Farrelly, the production’s director and associate professor of theatre at UW-Platteville, this award-winning musical puts the audience in the room at the Continental Congress as the founding fathers debate whether or not to sever ties with Great Britain.

“It is the first chapter of our American story, and it’s one that I think we often take for granted,” said Farrelly. “This musical takes us back in time and shows us how this American experiment began – and just how close it came to never happening at all.”

Farrelly noted that the musical takes some dramatic license – it is not a documentary piece.

“What it does is capture the spirit of the historical event,” said Farrelly. “These men were flawed, but they were doing something that had never been done before. They did not get everything right, but they did something truly extraordinary.”

The cast includes Ross Spadaro as John Adams, Corbin Schroeder as Benjamin Franklin, Ian Duff as Thomas Jefferson, Blair Schuler as John Dickinson, Logan Eigenberger as Edward Rutledge, Aaron Pliska as Richard Henry Lee, Lyrica Daentl as Abigail Adams, Kiley Schulz as Martha Jefferson, Hailey Bradshaw as John Hancock, John Gunther as Charles Thomson, Beth Wallace as Roger Sherman, Meghan Weber as Robert Livingston, Lili Pierce as the Courier, Jacob Nachtigal as Lyman Hall, Cody Lindau as Thomas McKean, Adam Smith as Stephen Hopkins, Josh Lawyer as James Wilson, Charles Roltgen as George Read, Alex Behne as Caesar Rodney, Nick Kelley as Josiah Bartlett, Abigail Wagner as Lewis Morris, Chris Kott as Samuel Chase, Jon Herbers as Joseph Hewes, Jason Hackbarth as Jonathan Witherspoon, Briley Fenner as Andrew McNair and Faith Siewart as the Leather Apron.

“We have broadened our horizons when it comes to casting the founding fathers,” said Farrelly. “Many people of all types built America, so our cast reflects that fact. I think the diversity that comes from non-traditional casting creates a more powerful experience.”

Joining Farrelly on the production team are UW-Platteville’s Connie SaLoutos Furlan, choreographer; Jeffrey Strange, scenic and lighting designer; Sarah Strange, costume designer; Rob Shepherd, music director and conductor; Chris Fahley, sound designer; and student production staff members Chris Geenen, technical director, and Taylor Tieman, stage manager.

“This musical reminds us of who we are as Americans and reminds us of the reasons why America came to be,” said Farrelly. “I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to revisit the founding fathers.”

Tickets for the production are $12 for general admission, $11 for faculty/staff/seniors and $7 for students (price includes $2 box office transaction fee). For tickets and information, contact the University Box Office at 608-342-1298 or online at tickets.uwplatt.edu

Formatted by: Laurie A. Hamer, University Relations Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu. Information provided by: Dr. Ann Dillon Farrelly, associate professor of theatre, UW-Platteville.

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