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A Must See

Encores 1776 Takes A Cue From Hamilton With Diverse Casting

It’s no secret that the hit musical Hamilton was inspired by the 1969 Tony-winning musical 1776, he quotes the musical in his hit show, but when it comes to casting the roles have been reversed. In a posted audition notice for the upcoming 2016 Encores concert series, 1776 has specific casting notices citing that “this will be a completely multi-ethnic production.”

The show originally premiered on Broadway in 1969 with an all-white cast, led by William Daniels reflecting the actual ethnic makeup of the “Founding Fathers.” Hamilton did something extraordinary with their take on the founding fathers by choosing to cast primarily actors of color to bring forth this history for modern audiences. Because unlike 1776, in 2015 we’re experiencing diversity like we’ve never seen before. Why can’t our Broadway shows reflect that? And so far it’s working for Hamilton, as it’s easily the hottest new musical of the season.

In the Encores! season announcement, Jack Viertel, Encores! Artistic Director, said in a statement, “1776 is a show we’ve long contemplated doing, but wanted to wait a sufficient amount of time after its successful 1997 revival. This season, with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton opening on Broadway and dealing with many of the same story elements in a completely different way, we felt it would be an especially enjoyable moment to look at this wonderful show. It may also start a few conversations, which, in the theatre, we always hope to do.”

This new Encores! 1776, which will be directed by Garry Hynes, and music directed by Rob Berman is ready to follow suit with their own multi-ethnic casting. Rehearsals are scheduled to begin March 16, 2016 with previews starting March 30 and opening night set for April 3 at the City Center in New York City.

1776 is set in the halls of Congress, as the founding fathers battle out the question of independence and draft the declaration that will sever their ties to England and give birth to a new nation. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and their cohorts argue and grandstand through speeches and songs such as “Sit Down, John,” “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men,” and “He Plays the Violin.” 1776 features music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone.

So what do you guys think? Anybody else excited like I am? Sound off in the comments below!

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