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‘1776’ Review: Bold Choices Enliven Broadway Revival of Revolutionary Musical

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Frank Rizzo The opening moments of this exuberant, thought-provoking and radical revival of “1776” makes it clear who was missing from John Trumbull’s famous painting of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

As the female, transgender, non-binary and racially and ethnically diverse cast arrives on stage, exchanges street clothes for period waistcoats and literally steps into the black buckled shoes of this country’s forefathers, we know immediately that this will be a theatrical re-imagining not only of history, but the acclaimed Tony Award-winning 1969 musical.

Co-directors Diane Paulus and Jeffrey L. Page apply a bold Brechtian brush to this picture with its casting, staging, musical arrangements and design.

Without changing the narrative, it adds layers of context that offer further shadings to the musical, even though at times the results are somewhat crude, clunky or overdone.

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