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why 1776 
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Post why 1776
Hello

Back on this (still agonizing?) forum after a few years because I need your help.
Yes, Musicals.net, YOU.

I'm writing a term paper about politics in musicals and I'm trying to compare Assassins to 1776. However, since I absolutely adore Assassins, I really dislike 1776. And I think it would be really sad if I spent my whole paper saying how much I despise it. (and it would be difficult to change my subject at this point)

I admit I haven't see the show on stage (but I've read the Libretto several times) and I am not American, which may be two reasons why the show don't appeal to me.

So please, please, please, could some of you tell me why they like that show? I will probably never get to like it but maybe I will end up seeing a point of its existence.

I can explain to you why I dislike it :
The repetitve use ofrepetition humour is... too repetitive for my taste. And the puns... This "financial LEE, political LEE, External LEE" "when do you live?" "Immediate LEE" part gets on my nerves so much.
Lyrics are bad by MT standards. I mean they have all mistakes MT writers are supposed to avoid. They don't fit to character: would a "cool cool considerate man" like Rutledge scream like an actioneer in the congress? They are repetitive : The conservative men, which we know to be on the right side need to reasses this by singing "to the right, always to the right, never to the left, always to the right". They don't always rhyme "Piddle twiddle and resolve, not one damn thing do we solve", piddle twiddle and resolve, nothing's ever solved". Solve and Solved don't rhyme. By the way, this lyric is really repetitve too, especially since we could already see that "nothing's ever solved' in the "sit down john" song. Oh and they would rather have a rhyme than meaning (which Sondheim says is a sin). Rhyming "mania" with "pennsylvania" makes Franklin says "I refuse to use the pen in Pennsylvania". I don't know how a man living in Pennsilvania, working in Pennsylvania, reperesenting Pennsylvania and without the access to a computer could just "refuse to use a pen in Pennsylvania". Beside, hearing that sentence, I want to scream to Adams to take Franklin to Boston so that he can write there his damn declaration. It's a very feeble excuse not to write it. Especially since it has nothing to do with the rest of what Franklin says.
Some songs could actually be removed of the show without the audience missing anything
The representation of women : 2 useless women in the show, one of them only coming on stage to show how good in bed her man is. C'mon....
And the music. I usually end up liking music I've listened to a great number of time. The more I listen to 1776, the more I find that this music has definitely nothing interesting.

I feel that the only good thing of this show is you can use it as drinking game very easily : normal level : drink everytime a state is mentioned (you can even chose 13 different alcohols and assign them to states). Hard level : drink every time the words "window", "philadelphia" and " independency" are pronounced and you'll already be drunk by the end of "Sit down John".

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Mon May 25, 2015 4:45 am
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Post Re: why 1776
Sorry for the late reply. From the standpoint of a fan, there's lots to admire about '1776'. Historically, it's very significant because it was the first musical to have a large stretch (of over 30 minutes!) with no songs or music, and also its film version was the first to ever be censored by the U.S. President. Musically, it's very impressive as well. For example, "He Plays The Violin' is written in fifths, because that's how a violin is played. Now, obviously Sherman Edwards composed all the show's songs on a piano and it is very difficult to compose music in fifths on the piano. And also, this is a detail that he could easily have ignored; this speaks to his skill and attention to detail that most composers with a legitimate body of work don't have. Now, let's look at dramaturgy. The book was written by Peter Stone, whose biggest strength as a writer was to throw the audience off the trail. We know historically that the Declaration was written, but the way Stone presents the story to us, you honestly doubt that it will happen. Also, when you really think about it, this story doesn't have to be a musical. But much like Titanic (also with a book by Peter Stone), Parade, and Floyd Collins, aren't we glad it is?

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Wed May 27, 2015 7:25 am
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