MUSICAL COMEDY AND HISTORICAL FACT. Mary Jane, Annalisa and I watched 1776 again on the Fourth of July. The combination of musical comedy form and historical fact still caused me to tear up often. It is a fact that a cancer-ridden Caesar Rodney rode all night to show up on the morning of the vote. His dramatic entrance in the final minutes of the musical comedy is historically based. As I posted on here, the lyrics of “But, Mr. Adams”, a traditional Broadway musical song and dance number, come from a letter written by John Adams, in which Adams recounted how he had told Jefferson that Adams was “obnoxious and disliked” and that Jefferson wrote ten times better than Adams or anybody else in Congress. The final scene is silent except for the tolling of a bell and a solemn voice announcing the name of each of the delegates portrayed and the colony he represented. Each then steps forward and signs. As I posted on here, it recreates what Benjamin Rush wrote to John Adams: “Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at the time to be our own death warrants?”

This entry was posted in History, Theater. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.