‘1776': the woke musical that ridicules the Founding Fathers

The directors chose women, trans and non-binary people to play Thomas Jefferson, John Adams or Roger Sherman.

In 1969, the musical 1776, written by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards, brought to life the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important events in U.S. history. At the time, it was a hit: it received the Tony Award for Best Musical of the Year. Now, this musical is back in theaters across the country with a striking change from the original. The Founding Fathers will be played by women, trans and non-binary people.

The newly adapted version debuted in October 2022. The cast is made up of actresses Gisela Adisa as John Adams, Nancy Anderson as Thomas Jefferson and Anissa Marie Griego as Roger Sherman. These are just a few examples of how the portrayal of the nation's early leaders was altered. The directors decided to put a woke spin on the original musical by casting female and trans actors in the roles of the Founding Fathers.

"I want the audience to hold that dual reality, of what the founders were, but also a company of actors in 2022, who never would have been allowed inside Independence Hall," said the musical's co-director Diane Paulus in statements reported by The New York Times. "The goal is to hold the story as a predicament, rather than as a myth of affirmation."

In fact, some of the historical characters who were white are played by black people. "With the other cast members, the main thing we communicated to them was, 'You're going to feel some things,'" said Jeffrey L. Page, who also co-directs the play. "What the black cast members were asking was to leave their fragility at the door."

"Trans people existed in 1776"

Sav Souza plays Dr. Josiah Bartlett, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. On his Instagram account, this trans actor shared a post in October 2022 stating that "trans people have always existed," referring to the fact that there were already trans people in the year 1776.

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A post shared by SAV SOUZA (@saaaavv).

Denver (Colorado) and Los Angeles (California) will host the next performances of the woke musical.