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1776 at Sterling: Real-Lee Fun Show

By • Aug 1st, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Sterling Playmakers’ production of 1776 [MP3 4:03 1.2MB].

Laura: This weekend we saw the Sterling Playmakers production of 1776 in Sterling Virginia.

Mike: 1776 is the musical story of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, taking place in the Summer of 1776.

Laura: This was a fun show, I really enjoyed it. Everybody had a lot of emotion and there was a lot of energy. The singing was well done. They had a live orchestra which was also nice.

Mike: This was a good show. It really came together quite well with all the male actors. The singing and dancing steps were really well done.

Laura: The main character was John Adams, the representative from the colony of Massachusetts. He was played by Joe Campanella. He did a really good job, with a nice voice and a lot of energy. He was very angry and played that well throughout the performance. You could see the emotion and the frustration on his face trying to get the other people to join in and agree to independence. The frustration on his face was really fun to watch.

Mike: There was a touching scene in the second act. A courier came in with a message for the congress. Most of the congress had left. The courier was taking a break before he had to ride back to battle and join George Washington. Andrew McNair (played by Steven Collins) and the Leather Apron (played by Chris DeLisi) decided to chat with him for a few moments. The Leather Apron said, “I want to be a soldier.” The courier said, “Really? I saw two of my friends get killed a few days ago.” Then he sang a great song. The courier was played by Jamison Foreman. That song was really well done. It was probably the best song of the show. It was very haunting and very emotional. Laura’s sister was with us and she said it nearly brought tears to her eyes.

Laura: Another representative that, I thought, did well was Richard Henry Lee, the representative from the colony of Virginia. He was played by Glen Bartram. I liked his performance. He had a good song. He had a lot of energy and was just about hopping around the stage. He had a lot of emotion. A lot of excitement wanting to get independence signed so he could go out and do what he needed to do. I really enjoyed watching his energy very much.

Mike: The set was very well done. They did actually shift the scenes around by using rotating platforms and using the curtains judiciously with trees and things they would carry on stage. On stage right they built an actual platform that was probably about ten feet above the stage with a stairwell. They did several songs there. John Adams had a nice little monologue on top of the steps. Then on top of the platform ther was a copy of the Liberty Bell. Unfortunately that was a slight disconnect in the show. They had the Liberty Bell. They went to the trouble of making it and hanging it where everybody could see it. At the end of the show when all of the delegates were signing the Declaration of Independence, the bell is rung. It wasn’t that bell. It would have been a superb touch if that bell could have actually been rung.

Laura: The costumes were also really good. They were very authentic. Not all of the men had powdered wigs, but a good percentage of them did. Again I thought that was really hot to wear for three hours.

Mike: The show was a total of three hours long with a twenty minute intermission. 1776 is playing through August 13 at the Potomac Falls High School in Sterling.

Laura: Once you’ve seen 1776, please leave your thoughts about it on our website. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list to you can receive information and updates about theater in the Northern Virginia Southern Maryland, and the DC area.

Mike: The next show we will be reviewing will be Annie, Jr. Playing at the Laurel Mill Playhouse.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

One Response »

  1. Mike,

    I am playing Andrew McNair in 1776. Thank you for mentionioning the Courier’s song it is a nice scene for me – but I thought I would correct the notes you have abou the charactors that play this scene.

    You have the “Courier” right it is Jamison Foreman and what a voice he has. “Leather Apron” is played by our youngest cast member Chris DeLisi. You also have Jeanne DeLisi she comes on as the Mother of the dead soldier, and then myself “Andrew McNair” played by Steven Collins. The painter is only in the scene at the begining with Ben Franklin.

    Thank you for coming to the show and for both of your reviews! We have two more weekends – 6 more shows…

    Steven Collins