|| Additional reporting by Katelyn Eng, Maya Berardi, and Carolyn Abramowich ||
1776, more than just a year, is the award-winning Broadway musical that has been thrust to the center of attention after the announcement that it will be this year’s spring musical.
1776 takes the audience back to the past, as the musical itself focuses on the post-Revolutionary era, premiering on Broadway in 1969. It is based on the events that surround the signing of the Declaration of Independence, specifically John Adams’ attempts to persuade his colleagues to vote for independence and sign the document.
Regarding the musical’s selection, teacher opinion trends towards the positive. English and Social Studies teachers, whose curriculum considerably overlapped with the musical’s subject, had the most to offer. Mrs. Chester said, “I was really excited.” Mr. Tuffiash echoed a similar sentiment, and added, “I teach the Crucible, so I’ve seen the benefits of the musical integrating over into what we do in classes, and I, just, am so thankful for when those moments happen.”
In addition, Tuffiash has a very personal connection to this particular musical, having grown up watching the musical with his family. His dad, who was “a major history buff”, him and his siblings to the musical when they were younger and took them to historical landmarks around Philadelphia such as the Liberty Bell. “I’ve walked in places where that musical takes place… I just found it really interesting as a kid,” said Tuffiash
Student opinion is similarly positive overall. Senior Sam King, who has previously participated in the musical and intends to again, said, “I didn’t know what the musical was when they first announced it, so I was curious. Now that I’ve seen it, I think it’s a fun show.” Jessie Mellon, a sophomore who does not participate in the musical, added, “I love watching musicals, I am excited to see it, even though I am not exactly sure what it is going to be like.”
Notably, the lack of female parts (there are only two in the show), contrasted with the majority-female auditioning pool, poses an unusual gender-bending challenge. Langley Turcsanyi, Junior, and the drama department’s Student-Director remarked about Mrs. Frauenholz, “She’s being innovative and it’s something that a lot of high schools don’t do. She thinks that the girls here at Avonworth have the talent to pursue this endeavor.” Be that as it may, some of the girls who plan on auditioning for a role do not feel quite as optimistically. Junior Carolyn Abramovich commented on it saying, “I feel like there’s going to be more competition, and people are going to be upset with the outcome of the casting.”
After the announcement, most people’s minds flew to Hamilton, the ubiquitous, wildly successful Broadway hit. “They’re only similar in that the take place near the same time. It’s two completely different stories, really,” Sam King clarified. The two may be dissimilar, but hopefully, 1776 will receive the same praise and recognition as Hamilton has.