|I was fortunate to have seen this original production as a young teenager. The music and lyrics were so moving and delightful; I knew then it was something special. I can still remember the soft lighting on the earnest face of the soldier singing "Momma, Look Sharp" and the glee in Martha Jefferson as she sang " He plays the violin."
The final curtain was powerful. As the Liberty Bell chimed, the curtain displayed the signed Declaration of Independence. It made the hair on the back of your neck stand up!
I can say that the film version did justice to the original Broadway stage musical. It doesn't happen very often but Peter Stone's book and Sherman Edwards' music and lyrics made the leap nicely.
|1776 is one of the all-time great musicals, in my opinion. It manages to hit every part of the emotional spectrum, from comedy to moving drama.
The world is lucky that when Jack Warner decided to make a film, most of the original Broadway cast made it to the film. William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, on down to the smaller roles. Director Peter Hunt also maintained a lot of the Broadway staging, shooting the film in a wide cinemascope frame.
And even though you know how it ends, they manage to heighten the tension, which is a testament to the brilliant book, which is made up largely of the actual essays and correspondence of the founding fathers (and Abagail Adams as well).