The Fangirl Life: 1776 the Musical


Credit to Brayton Larson

By Michal Basford

A comedic reenactment of the making and signing of the Declaration of Independence, 1776 is a history lover’s dream come true with well known historical figures including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock.

Originally airing in 1972, Turner Classic Movies (TCM, for short) plays this historically based musical around July 4 each year along with other films. Before being turned into a movie, the musical was on Broadway.

The songs are amazing and add some much needed comedy into the plot. The first song the cast sings, called “Sit Down, John” which is my personal favorite, is the entirety of Congress avoiding a frustrated John Adams and his plight for independency. The congressmen go back and forth telling John to sit down, complaining about the heat and needing the windows open, and there being too many flies inside which means the windows should be left closed. All the while, John is trying to get them to see reason. When they don’t, he storms out of the building, and another song begins, another favorite of mine called “Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve/Till Then.”

My favorite character is Thomas Jefferson. His sarcasm and dry humor adds some underlying comedic to serious conversations with John Adams, yet he’s very intelligent and speaks wise things. Benjamin Franklin is a more extreme example of this but is still funny. The character most of my hate is directed at is a congressman from South Carolina by the name of Edward Rutledge. It seems as though his entire goal throughout the course of the movie is to stop the progress of independence. Right alongside him is John Dickinson from Pennsylvania. Rutledge eventually concedes, only after the reference to slavery is removed, but Dickinson doesn’t budge. He leaves Congress for reasons John Hancock had plainly stated: everyone must agree and sign the declaration. Dickinson joins the Continental Army to fight for the country since he doesn’t feel strongly about the topic of independence.

Throughout the movie, the story keeps you interested with a variety of characters, heartfelt songs and comedy.