Monday, October 31, 2016

1776 GeorgetownTheater Review--B-O-R-I-N-G

Fiorella had high expectations of the Georgetown Theater's production of the musical 1776 because it was a much-lauded Broadway show, and also because, in her second book, she had given her hero a role in Bosque Bend's civic theater production of it. But the Palace show dragged into boredom, and, when, despite the beautiful voice of Buddy Novak singing a heart-wrenching ballad, the last scene of the first act fell flat, she and Husband decided enough was enough and walked out at intermission.

There were other problems too. For some unisex reason, a good number of the male roles, including that of John Adams, were played by women who dressed as men but sang in decidedly female voices, and although Danielle Ruth played Adams manfully, it didn't help that "his" wife was a good foot taller than he was. Also, the portrayal of Benjamin Franklin as a buffoon offended Fio, who always enjoyed reading--and teaching--his clever essays. And she got tired of characters making sniggering sexual references like dirty-minded schoolboys.

On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson (Justin Dam) was a heartthrob with an electrifying voice, and most of the women also had excellent singing voices. But their speaking voices got loud and painfully shrill during the political arguments, which made Fio realize why Hillary keeps her vocal tone under tight control.

The company was a motley crew.  The representative from Georgia, played by a chirpy little blonde, didn't even try for a southern accent while the representative from South Carolina (Rutledge, played to perfection by Emily Perzan) had it down pat.  In fact, Fio's eyes kept following Perzan, who stayed in character the entire time.

The setting (of the first act at least) was interesting, a reproduction of Independence Hall, tally board and all, but the costumes looked like leftovers from earlier productions, and the "men's" wigs looked like restyled women's wigs, Franklin's being the worst.

Two final notes.
1) Listening to the right/left song. Fio couldn't help but wonder if scheduling 1776 for the month before elections was deliberate, a subtle attempt to influence the electorate to, as the Continental Congress did, go left.
2) Studying the skeleton of this slow-motion bomb, Fio realized she too could write a boffo Broadway show. How about she flesh out the "Gift of the Magi" musical she outlined in her second book?  Producers, angels, are you listening?

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