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The mutual inspiration of ‘Hamilton’ and the ‘1776’ revival at NY City Center

The first Revolutionary War musical is back at New York City Center.

John Larroquette, last seen singing in Broadway's "How to Succeed in Business WithGetty Images


Since no one besides Aaron Burr’s fellow trust fund babies can get in to see “Hamilton,” New York City Center has the next best thing.

The theater’s annual Encores! Series will kick off this Wednesday with “1776,” the original musical about trying to get 13 colonies to band together into... something not British. As the election cycle has shown, we're still working out the details — perhaps fodder for the next American history musical?

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In this "1776," the stars are John Adams and Ben Franklin (played by John Larroquette), with Thomas Jefferson once again waltzing in to stir up trouble as the Founding Fathers try to get the Declaration of Independence signed.



The musical, written in 1969, already understood a few of the same elements that made “Hamilton" a success. In aconversationabout the production, “Hamilton” writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda tipped his hat to the musical: “1776 certainly paved the way for Hamilton… To begin an opening number with everyone telling another guy to shut up — what better way to pull these people that we see on statues and on our currency off of the pedestal?”

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In turn, this revival of “1776” has also taken cues from one of the key aspects of the newcomer’s success. Director Garry Hynes set out to create a similarly multicultural cast for her production, tellingPlaybill, “I don’t think you can do a musical or any other piece of theatre now and simply have an all-white company of actors simply because they were all white 400 years ago.”

Limited tickets ($35-$140) are still available for “1776,” which runs from March 30 through ­April 3.

 

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