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College-Community Summer Theatre to Present '1776 In Concert'

Story Is Based on the Events Surrounding the Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

June 13, 2011

Wilmington College-Community Summer Theatre will feature a cast of veteran local actors and singers when it presents 1776 In Concert for four performances in July.

The show will run July 14, 15 and 16, at 7:30 p.m., and July 17, at 2:30 p.m., in WC’s Hugh G Heiland Theatre.

Steven Haines is directing 1776 In Concert with J. Wynn Alexander and Becky Haines handling the design and lighting/sound, respectively. Matt Spradlin is music director with Luke Williams serving as associate music director.

1776 In Concert features the complete script and musical repertoire from the 1969 Tony Award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards.

The story is based on the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It focuses on, and partly fictionalizes, the efforts of John Adams to persuade his colleagues to vote for American independence and to sign the document.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1969, earning warm reviews, and ran for 1,217 performances. The production was nominated for five Tony Awards and won three, including the Tony Award for Best Musical. 1776 was made into a film of the same name in 1972 and was revived on Broadway in 1997.

Haines assigned roles with a blind eye to the gender of several of those historical figures being portrayed. For example, Cherie Cooper Darragh is playing John Hancock and Claudia Fowler was cast as Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island.

Haines will portray John Adams of Massachusetts in a cast that also features: James Finnegan as Dr. Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire; Timothy Larrick, as Roger Sherman, Connecticut; Jeff Fryman as Lewis Morris, New York; Seth Parshall as Robert Livingston, New York; Mary Zaycosky as the Rev. John Witherspoon, New Jersey.

Tim Brausch as Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania; Wayne Dunn as John Dickinson, Pennsylvania; Josh Coleman as James Wilson, Pennsylvania; Tonja Ruther as Caesar Rodney, Delaware; Grant Peelle as Col. Thomas McKean, Delaware; Rhonda Wheasler as George Read, Delaware; Dean Feldmeyer as Richard Henry Lee, Virginia; J. Wynn Alexander as Thomas Jefferson, Virginia; Ruth Dobyns as Joseph Hewes, North Carolina.

Bryan Wallingford as Edward Rutledge, South Carolina; David L. Raizk as Dr. Lyman Hall, Georgia; Jack Filkins as Charles Thompson; Drew Blakeman as Andrew McNair; Tricia Heys as Abigail Adams; Judy Johnston as Samuel Chase, Maryland; Gina Beck as Martha Jefferson; Kevin Berry as the courier; and Tonja Ruther as the mother.

Ticket reservations can be made by contacting the Theatre Box Office weekdays, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., at (937) 382-6661 ext. 267.