John Hetzler, Benjamin Pither and Sam Leeper star in 1776

I may have learned more American history last Saturday night than I did in my entire junior year of high school.  We saw 1776 at the Lesher, put on by the Contra Costa Musical Theater.

The play is about the Continental Congress deciding to declare independence from England in June and July 1776.  The decision was more difficult than you might believe, and even when agreement was reached the Congress spent days hashing out the wording of the Declaration so brilliantly written by Thomas Jefferson.

This is a strange musical in one respect–it has less music than any other I’ve ever seen.  There is a section in act one that is so long without music that the musicians are permitted to leave the pit.

The cast are dedicated and talented amateurs aided by 2 Equity members, Benjamin Pither as John Adams and Douglas Giorgis as Edward Rutledge, the representative from South Carolina.  In truth, I was surprised when looking at the program that there were only 2 Equity members, the cast was so talented.

1776 run almost 3 hours, with one intermission.  And to make the evening perfect they now sell ice cream during the break, just like in London.

The play runs for 2 more weeks, and is an excellent way to spend an evening at the theater and learn all that history you slept through in your teens.


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