Closed 2h 50m
1776 (Encores!)
Midtown W
85

1776 (Encores!) NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(115 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
3%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Intelligent, Relevant

About the Show

Encores! concert version of the Tony Award-winning musical about the birth of our nation features TV stars Santino Fontana and John Larroquette as founding fathers.

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Member Reviews (115)

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75
Clever, Ambitious, Educational, Moving, Funny

See it if you love the smart, funny, engaging script/songs. Although quite long, it moves quickly. Mostly well-sung and acted. Not much staging.

Don't see it if you want a stellar production. Modern dress wrong for historical piece. Larroquette disappoints as Franklin, stepped on jokes and can't sing

80
Great acting, Great writing, Great music, Insightful, Relevant

See it if Great production. Incredible talent. Fontana is an outstanding lead and singer. Cudos to Larroquette too. Powerfully acted.

Don't see it if It's a (more than) concert version. Allows you to pay attention to the writing and the acting. For a musical there's long non-singing parts.

Critic Reviews (16)

March 31st, 2016

"'1776' can sometimes feel like C-Span set to music...Your instinct is to yell down the corridors of history, 'Pick up the pace, guys!' You may occasionally feel like shouting the same instructions at the cast members onstage...This cleanly mounted production begins with marvelous gusto...Mr. Fontana shoulders the responsibilities of a leading man with irresistible focus and passion…What was, and remains, revolutionary about ‘1776’ is that it dares to be as dull as real politics can often be."
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March 31st, 2016

"That Edwards’s songs are so secondary, and Stone’s book so good—certainly one of the best ever written for a musical—makes '1776' an unexpected choice for the Encores!...The sound from the orchestra is glorious and so is the production. Under Garry Hynes’s patient, probing, and emotionally vivid direction, it ranks as one of the best of the 68 musical revivals Encores! has offered...The actors thrillingly succeed in making the drama play as if it never happened before—onstage or off."
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March 31st, 2016

"While this current incarnation is not perfect, it nonetheless makes a compelling argument that the show would find receptive audiences for a commercial run...The book by Peter Stone is considered one of the finest in all of musical theater...Considering the show's considerable demands, the ensemble is largely fine despite their limited rehearsal time...The marvel of this show is how it manages to keep us in suspense even though its outcome is known to all...'1776' makes history come alive."
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April 1st, 2016

"It’s witty, intricately plotted and surprisingly suspenseful. As John Adams and Ben Franklin, respectively, Santino Fontana and John Larroquette drive the show with the energy and chemistry of a comedy duo...Director Garry Hynes adds sly curveballs, like the casting of African-American Nikki Renée Daniels as Martha Jefferson. But what’s most striking is how powerfully '1776' argues for unity, honor and, yes, compromise—a resonant note in our divided times."
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March 31st, 2016

"Long-winded scenes without music are as enjoyable as taxation without representation. Stretches of the almost three-hour show are a slog. Still, Stone’s witty jokes about a do-nothing Congress never fail to hit the mark. Polarizing founding father John Adams does gags that could work for a Jimmy Fallon monologue...Set over three tempestuous and bloody months running up to July, 4, 1776, the show’s return is perfectly timed for current, high-stakes politics."
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March 31st, 2016

"Although Sherman Edwards’ score is thoroughly winning, '1776' revolves primarily around Peter Stone’s witty, dramatically-charged book…As staged by Irish director Garry Hynes, this is a lean presentation of the musical that would have been even more effective and fluid had the actors benefited from a longer rehearsal period. Santino Fontana is unusually likable and photogenic as the 'obnoxious and disliked' John Adams, but still captures the character’s fervor and fighting spirit."
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March 31st, 2016

"A superb concert production of a somewhat lackluster musical (but better play)...Under the direction of Garry Hynes, Peter Stone's extended book scenes come alive, so much so that we often forget we are at a concert presentation...But unlike most musicals, the score is really not the main course...While there are aspects of '1776' that don't seem to mesh with reality, it is more truthful than not and certainly gets us thinking about the foundational battles of our union."
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March 31st, 2016

"One of Broadway's finest-written musicals not only serves as a great history lesson, but also strikes many newly-relevant chords...Musically, this '1776' succeeds greatly. However, this is the rare musical where the book is so strong that many of the evening's emotional high points are spoken, so in this case the numerous cuts decrease the drama's effectiveness...The production has the makings of one that could really gel together into something fresh and invigorating."
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March 31st, 2016

"'1776' functions more as a play than as a musical, and thus makes steeper dramatic demands of its directors and performers. That's where this version gets into trouble. Director Garry Hynes hasn't brought out enough of its inherent vitality. Beyond the issues of her own sedate but unfocused staging...almost none of the actors have had the time they need with roles this complex...The production is bogged down in the words that simply haven't had the opportunity to become musical enough."
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April 3rd, 2016

"Stone’s book has been much acclaimed and cited as one the best ever for a musical. Stripped of period trappings its effectiveness is even more evident...Edwards’ clever lyrics and rousing melodies combined with the book have made '1776 'one of the most beloved shows by musical theater devotees and the public...Besides artfully integrating modernity into the piece with her fine concert adaptation of the original book, director Hynes has staged this presentation with vibrancy and precision."
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April 1st, 2016

"Garry Hynes’ supremely intelligent and entertaining revival of '1776'...shines as a sterling recreation of the struggles of the representatives of the original 13 colonies as they grappled with the question of American independence...Admittedly, '1776' is more a play with music than a traditional musical, with a mere dozen songs scattered throughout its nearly three hours. And only a few of them even stick in your head...The entire production benefits from a surplus of keen casting."
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March 31st, 2016

"The book of ‘1776’ is the best thing about the show…It is educational, yes, but it is also suspenseful, funny, playful, sharply relevant and downright moving…While they’re all pleasant enough, only a handful of the songs offer memorable melodies and lyrics…Dressing the cast in modern business suits doesn’t do much for me...Yet, ultimately, none of these shortcomings, nor the uneven performances of the large cast, diminish the effect of '1776.'"
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March 30th, 2016

"There is no question that this is one musical where the book outshines the songs...This is not to disparage Sherman Edwards’ score, which is tuneful enough and does the show no harm; indeed, the songs provide much-needed breaks from the tension of the arguing, debating, and negotiating...Santino Fontana is terrific as John Adams...No one will claim that '1776' fails to play fast and loose with the details...Still and all, this is a fine production of a show."
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April 1st, 2016

"In the 22-year history of Encores! none of the five-dozen-plus musicals it’s produced has ever retained as much book as what’s on stage now...Almost all of Peter Stone’s book is on view, which is entirely fitting, given that it’s the best book a musical has ever had...making a story suspenseful when we already know the Declaration will indeed be signed? What a miracle that after a half-hour of watching Stone’s plot, we come to believe that there COULDN’T ever be a United States of America."
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April 1st, 2016

"The genius of '1776' is that it tells a story we all know the end to in a way that is so effective that it feels like a nail-biter...Composer/lyricist Sherman Edwards wrote a delightful score that brings the personalities of these Founding Fathers to life...The cast is phenomenal all around...Peter Stone's book for '1776', often praised as one of the finest in the musical theater canon, sounds as fresh, witty, and insightful as ever."
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April 1st, 2016

"Although Peter Stone’s book is very wordy for a concert, the chance to hear Sherman Edwards’ marvelous score played is a definite attraction...For a story whose outcome is known, Stone generates plenty of tension and conflict...The 26 characters of the ensemble company are clearly established, and the moments of character-based humor land many appreciative laughs. Edwards’ score is a terrific collection of melodies and styles, with his songs breaking up the action in a entertaining manner."
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