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February 8, 2011/FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Liz Wooley, wooleyl@uncsa.edu, 336/734-2924

 

 

 

A Nation’s Independence Debated and Declared
in
Award-winning Musical 1776 at UNCSA


Winston-Salem – It was a time of revolution, when a nation struggled to find its identity and its independence. The season was hot, the tempers were high and every man had his own ambition. Lines were crossed, compromises were made and every point was debated. This was the adventure of the momentous days leading up to July 4th in Philadelphia when the second Continental Congress argued about, voted on, and signed the Declaration of Independence in the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) production of the musical 1776; performing February 24 through March 5 in Performance Place Thrust Theatre.

1776 is a drama of mounting tension and triumph - from John Adams’ opening diatribe to the stunning coup de théâtre at the end as each delegate is called to sign and the Liberty Bell booms in the background. The audience gains insights that no history book could provide as the tenacious John Adams clashes with conservative John Dickinson of Pennsylvania and the aristocratic Edward Rutledge of South Carolina. The songs, too, richly add to the emotional depth and dramatic turning points of the play, ranging from humorous (“He Plays the Violin”) to scathing (“Molasses to Rum”) to poignant (“Momma, Look Sharp”). 1776, music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, book by Peter Stone, premiered on Broadway in 1969, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was revived on Broadway in 1997

Photo by Allen Aycock

Patrick Osteen and Kira Walters as John and Abigail Adams in 1776 performing at UNCSA February 24-March 5.

1776 will be directed by guest artist John Langs, an alumnus of the UNCSA’s directing program. Mr. Langs’ recent directorial credits with UNCSA include Two Shakespearean Actors, Our Country’s Good and The Trojan Women. For the past 12 years he has directed a wide variety of productions across the country including King Lear (Seattle Footlight Award for Best Production of the Year), The Shaggs Philosophy of the World (Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Original Musical, Backstage Garland Award for Best Direction), and The Brothers Karamazov (seven LADCC Awards including Best Production and Best Direction). Mr. Langs also received the first Gregory Falls Award for excellence in direction last year for The Adding Machine for New Century Theatre Company in Seattle.

Guest artist in residence Kevin Stites will serve as Musical Director for 1776. Most recently, Mr. Stites served as the Music Director on Richard Maltby, Jr., David Shire, and John Weidman’s new musical Take Flight at the McCarter Theatre. On Broadway, most recently, he served as Music Supervisor, Arranger and Music Director for A Tale of Two Cities, Music Supervisor and Incidental Music Composer for The Color Purple, and Music Director of the recent revival of Les Miserables. Regional projects include Music Director and Conductor for the St. Louis Muny’s production of Titanic and Composer and Music Arranger for The Master Butcher’s Singing Club at the Guthrie Theater. After 1776, Mr. Stites will return to New York for Music Direction on Maury Yeston, the late Peter Stone (original co-author of 1776) and Thomas Meehan’s Death Takes A Holiday, world-premiering at Off-Broadway’s Roundabout Theatre in 2011.

The cast of 1776 will be comprised of UNCSA juniors and seniors.

Performances will be at the Thrust Theatre in Performance Place on the UNCSA campus at 1533 South Main St., Winston-Salem at 8:00 p.m. February 24-26 and March 3-5, and at 2:00 p.m. February 27 and March 5. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors/students, plus a $1 facility usage fee. Call the UNCSA Box Office at 336-721-1945 for reservations, or visit www.uncsa.edu/performances to purchase tickets online.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. Internationally renowned conductor John Mauceri has been chancellor of UNCSA since 2006. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.

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The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.

 

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