"UP IN THE CHEAP SEATS"

Theatre yesterday and today

 

 

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MORE OF "1776"

I didn't intend to write another column on 1776 today, but since yesterday's engendered such a positive response (there are a LOT of fans of this show out there), something told me there's an audience ready for more. So here are a few more stories of what led to the extraordinary opening night of this "radically new" musical when it opened fifty years ago tonight on March 16, 1969. Even though I've devoted an entire chapter to its history in Up in the Cheap Seats, what's here didn't make it into the book due to length. And due to such constraints here, I'm not going to cover what happened with Howard DaSilva (as the show's secondary lead, Ben Franklin) on his unusual journey to opening night

THE EGG

Fifty years ago this afternoon, I took my seat as a just-turned twelve-year-old in seat F 102 in the last row of the Richard Rodgers Theatre (then called the 46th Street), to see the second-to-last preview of a new musical titled 1776. All I knew about it was from the first ad I saw in the Sunday New York Times, which depicted an eaglet popping out of an egg with an American flag in its mouth. This whimsical cartoon by the artist Fay Gage was all I needed to convince me to mail away for tickets that were discounted to $3.00 during what accounted for less than a week’s worth of previews (the price would go up to $4.50 after it opened). Even though I hesitated, as this would be the first time

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© 2016 Ron Fassler - All rights Reserved

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