History lesson in song 


For the history buff in you, Wayne Township Community Theatre is presenting 1776, the story of the Continental Congress’ decision to declare the American colonies’ independence from England. More a play with a few songs than an outright musical, a deep-seated interest in American history helps to get you through some of the more tedious scenes. For anyone who has ever sat through a board meeting, or something similar, the Continental Congress is as yawn producing.

Sporting a very large cast, the voices were about 50/50 in strength. Sound issues were evident, such as in the spirited song “The Lees of Old Virginia,” featuring R. Brian Noffke, which was muddied and drowned out by the orchestra. But John Sparkman as the South Carolina delegate, as well as being a darling little dandy, gave a powerful performance in “Molasses to Rum.” And “But, Mr. Adams” was a cute little song.

Craig Reasoner, as John Dickinson from Pennsylvania, provided a solid performance, but his singing voice just couldn’t support his song “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men.” Carol Greeley as Abigail Adams was sweet but thin during her numbers — and was smiling even while describing her failing farm and measles-struck children. Kevin David Smith as John Adams, who the story revolves around, was adequate, but I never found his conviction to be entirely believable.

As a whole, many of the lines from the cast came either too fast or too slow — the timing seemed to be off, and it never adjusted itself. For a musical that beat Hair in 1969 for a Tony Award, this production doesn’t seem to do 1776 justice.

1776, directed by Cathy Tolzmann, continues through June 26 at Ben Davis High School. Call 390-0363.

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