‘1776’ Packed With Historical Drama

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro Pictured from left: Adam Mosebach (as Charles Thomson), Stephen Valenti (as Lewis Morris), Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams), Tom Lucca (as John Hancock), Michael Glavan (as Thomas Jefferson), Jon Reinhold (as Richard Henry Lee), Benjamin Howes (as John Dickinson) and Robert Budnick (as Stephen Hopkins).

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro
Pictured from left: Adam Mosebach (as Charles Thomson), Stephen Valenti (as Lewis Morris), Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams), Tom Lucca (as John Hancock), Michael Glavan (as Thomas Jefferson), Jon Reinhold (as Richard Henry Lee), Benjamin Howes (as John Dickinson) and Robert Budnick (as Stephen Hopkins).

By Janee Law
jlaw@longislandergroup.com

Audience members were taken back to the 1700s Thursday night, when John W. Engeman Theater’s production of musical “1776” hit the stage and told the intense and courageous tale of how the founding fathers declared independence from Great Britain.

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro Michael Glavan (as Thomas Jefferson), David Studwell (as Benjamin Franklin) and Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams) develop a draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro
Michael Glavan (as Thomas Jefferson), David Studwell (as Benjamin Franklin) and Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams) develop a draft of the Declaration of Independence.

 The Tony Award-winning musical covers a three-month period during the hot summer months in Philadelphia. Actors incorporate drama into the story, with occasional moments of comic relief, leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

 With a talented creative design team, and director Igor Goldin, the stage opens in the chamber of the continental congress on May 8, 1776. With several tables scattered among the stage holding feather pens, actors are finely dressed in 18th century wings, neck cravats, suits, stockings and buckle shoes.

 The 25 cast members embody each of their characters, and embrace the time period through mannerisms, speech and poise.

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams) gives an intense and passionate performance as the founding father that championed independence in congress.

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro
Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams) gives an intense and passionate performance as the founding father that championed independence in congress.

Captivating in his performance as found father John Adams, Jamie LaVerdiere is intense, passionate and persistent in his efforts for independence.

 LaVerdiere said after the show that it is a “great deal of fun” to play his role.

 “It’s an inspiring story. It was a brand new thing and he was a visionary,” LaVerdiere added. “It’s a dream role of mine. I’ve worked out here a couple times and I’m just so honored for the opportunity to be doing it anywhere that this will always be a special experience in my career.”

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro Jennifer Hope Willis (as Abigail Adams) and Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams) deliver a beautiful performance as husband and wife communicating through letters while miles away from each other.

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro
Jennifer Hope Willis (as Abigail Adams) and Jamie LaVerdiere (as John Adams) deliver a beautiful performance as husband and wife communicating through letters while miles away from each other.

 In addition, his performance with Jennifer Hope Willis (Abigail Adams) gives a beautiful rendition of the letters that John and Abigail wrote to each other while John was away in Philadelphia. As the actors sing to each other in “Yours, Yours, Yours,” they deliver heartbreaking yearning as John confides in Abigail during stressful times.

 In other numbers, like “Cool, Cool Considerate Men,” led by Benjamin Howes (as John Dickinson), actors take the stage in a powerful performance as men standing their ground to remain loyal to the crown.

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro The cast of “1776” performs “Cool, Cool Considerate Men.” Pictured, from left: Andrew Hendrick (as Robert Livingston), James D. Schultz (as Dr. Lyman Hall), Christopher Wynne Duffy (as George Read), Peter Saide (as Edward Rutledge), Benjamin Howes (as John Dickinson), Jake Mills (as Joseph Hewes), Kevin Robert Kelly (as Judge James Wilson) and Stephen Valenti (as Lewis Morris).  

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro
The cast of “1776” performs “Cool, Cool Considerate Men.” Pictured, from left: Andrew Hendrick (as Robert Livingston), James D. Schultz (as Dr. Lyman Hall), Christopher Wynne Duffy (as George Read), Peter Saide (as Edward Rutledge), Benjamin Howes (as John Dickinson), Jake Mills (as Joseph Hewes), Kevin Robert Kelly (as Judge James Wilson) and Stephen Valenti (as Lewis Morris).

 

 With each passing ‘day,’ the story intensifies, as characters entice one another and make unwanted sacrifices for the colonies to officially declare independence.

 Audience member Lynn Ratner, of Merrick, said after the show that she enjoyed the production.

 “We weren’t sure what to expect from a Long Island theater,” she added. “It’s a very impressive group, very talented people. The voices were wonderful and it’s a wonderful story.”

 Showtimes for “1776” at the John W. Engeman Theater (250 Main St., Northport) are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $71-$76 and can be purchased at the box office, or at Engemantheater.com.

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro The 25-member cast of “1776” stands proud after signing the Declaration of Independence, with the words projecting on the walls of the chamber of the continental congress. 

Photos by Michael DeCristofaro
The 25-member cast of “1776” stands proud after signing the Declaration of Independence, with the words projecting on the walls of the chamber of the continental congress.