The Pitch

WJ’s 1776 makes history

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Siddharth Srinivasan

More stories from Siddharth Srinivasan

Photo+Courtesy+of+Sophie+Becker%0A%0AThe+cast+of+1776+at+a+brush-up+rehearsal+between+performances.+The+unrelenting+persistence+and+commitment+of+the+crew+and+cast+rendered+the+play+a+great+success.
Back to Article
Back to Article

WJ’s 1776 makes history

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Becker

The cast of 1776 at a brush-up rehearsal between performances. The unrelenting persistence and commitment of the crew and cast rendered the play a great success.

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Becker The cast of 1776 at a brush-up rehearsal between performances. The unrelenting persistence and commitment of the crew and cast rendered the play a great success.

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Becker The cast of 1776 at a brush-up rehearsal between performances. The unrelenting persistence and commitment of the crew and cast rendered the play a great success.

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Becker The cast of 1776 at a brush-up rehearsal between performances. The unrelenting persistence and commitment of the crew and cast rendered the play a great success.

Advertisement

Over the years, Walter Johnson Stage’s spring musicals have been diverse and unique. They have performed “Mary Poppins,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and even “Shrek.” Yet this year they set out to recreate the award winning musical “1776”: a fictionalized retelling of the events surrounding the Second Continental Congress and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The production was vastly different from any other WJ Stage had done before; this was a depiction of perhaps the most momentous event in American history – rather than a tale of a cranky, green ogre.

But the play was a triumph of hard-work, passion, and determination. The costumes and stage design exceeded my wildest expectations, and the actors performed with passion and energy. The dialogue was witty and sharp, they achieved a perfect harmony of humor and drama, and the production was surrounded by an aura of exuberance.

In addition, the play achieved success in its portrayal of some of the heavier aspects of the musical. Most notably, was the issue of slavery. The colonies were notoriously contradictory with their views on independence and freedom, and the song “Molasses to Rum” was entertaining in its communication of the hypocrisy.

It must be remembered that the production was amateur. Naturally, it was beset by a few small problems, such as the orchestra drowning out the song on occasion and microphone mishaps early on.

A more glaring issue was the overreliance on the source material. “1776” is a Tony-winning play, and that was evident. But it would have been nice to see the talented cast of actors put their skills to use and make a few tweaks here and there. For the most part, it made no difference, as the production was thoroughly enjoyable.

Despite the plays success, there was one major flaw, which might have arisen from an unwillingness to deviate from the original. The character of Abigail Adams represents the antiquated values of a bygone age. Initially, Adams is portrayed as a stoic and steely character who refuses to make saltpeter for her husband, John Adams, until the women receive straight pins. In the next scene Abigail appears in, she and John profess their love for each other. She then caves in and agrees to John’s requests.

Whether or not this was what actually transpired does not matter. The production had the opportunity to alter the script in order to reflect today’s values. After, they were willing to defy history to shoehorn in a hamfisted, heavy-handed political message (“Cool Considerate Men”).

Nonetheless,“1776” was an incredible performance spurred on by the commitment of the cast and (the unsung heroes) the crew. Hopefully it will enter the pantheon of the greatest spring musicals WJ has performed.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0
0
About the Writer
Siddharth Srinivasan, Staff Writer

Siddharth Srinivasan is on his first year as a staff writer for the pitch. He is an avid soccer fan and a keen supporter of all Houston sports teams. He...

1 Comment

One Response to “WJ’s 1776 makes history”

  1. Alexis Holt on April 12th, 2019 5:38 pm

    Hello, I’m the actress that plays Abigail Adams in the production. I do agree that her character is centered around her husband, but I think that’s mainly because he is the main character in the production. I think you misinterpreted their exchanges as well- she and John make a deal that if he gets her pins for sewing (what I’ve interpreted as sewing uniforms, blankets, etc., for the war effort, she will make saltpetre, also to help the war effort. She is not merely giving in to her husband’s demands; she has successfully advocated for her own needs and is willingly giving her time to help the revolution. The song “Compliments” where she reveals that she has made saltpetre for John, is a nod to all the women of different backgrounds that helped with the war effort by sewing and making saltpetre. Although this contribution may seem antiquated, it is also historically accurate and designed to make the audience think. In addition, you mention in this article that we could have made “tweaks” to make it so that Abigail was not portrayed this way. However, making adjustments to a published script in performance is in actuality against copyright law and is also basically unheard of in the world of amateur theater.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    Senior Jordan Berkman leaps into the spotlight

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    Avengers: Endgame will shock, excite audiences

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    Captain Marvel blasts into movie theaters worldwide

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    Previewing April’s hottest new film releases

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    Kusshi Restaurant Review

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    What is your favorite MCU Movie?

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    Keeping up with betrayal

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    What are our teachers listening to?

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    The Bachelor review

  • WJ’s 1776 makes history

    Arts & Entertainment

    A recap of the 2019 Oscars

Navigate Right
The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School
WJ’s 1776 makes history