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Production of ‘1776’ the musical set for Wallingford Jubilee 350+2 performances

WALLINGFORD — As one of the first events of the Wallingford Jubilee 350th+2 celebration, the musical “1776” will be performed June 10-12 in the Town Council Chambers at Town Hall.

The musical by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards opened on Broadway in 1969 and was made into a movie in 1972. The plot is based on the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It tells the story of how John Adams persuaded his colleagues to vote for American independence.

On Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11, the play will be performed at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on Sunday, June 12 at 2 p.m.

“We chose (“1776”) because of the historical factor and because Wallingford with celebrating its 350+2 has a lot of history that is mentioned actually in the play,” said Mary Ellen Kingsland-Eckels, the play’s stage and music director and executive director and founder of Wallingford Center for the Arts.

The musical, like other Jubilee events, was supposed to occur in 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Casting was originally done in 2019.

“We had a public audition and we received a tremendous response to it,” Kingsland-Eckels said. “We have actors coming from all over the state … We have a really nice mix of professional actors and actors who this is their very first time on a stage, they’ve never done anything like this before.”

Kingsland-Eckels said most of the cast has stuck with the play since casting in 2019, even turning down other opportunities.

“We’re very grateful,” Kingsland-Eckels said. “That’s a very generous thing on their part.”

The production is difficult musically and dramatically, Kingsland-Eckels said.

“It combines sad moments with poignant moments with really great humor with kind of very dark moments and it’s really such a well-written play,” Kingsland-Eckels said. “It really shows our four fathers as human beings. They weren’t demigods. They were real human beings with questions and doubts and had to learn to compromise with one another.”

As a way to give people the opportunity to pay with cash, tickets are available at the Wallingford senior center, the Mayor’s office in Town Hall, and Gallagher Travel Shoppe. Tickets will also be available at the door.

For people who want to purchase tickets online, they are available at: https://wallingford1776.brownpapertickets.com/?fbclid= IwAR3DM_K97UKJhLGwV1qdZ1PEI W3PAwN48rbsGVblIgtO92py6c7OdpPqc64.

Christine Mansfield, co-chair of the Wallingford 350th Jubilee, said it has been a tradition to have a play as part of the town’s milestone anniversary celebrations.

“Of course with the play, having drama and the arts, it was a very cherished memory from previous jubilees,” Mansfield said.

Reporter Jessica Simms can be reached at jsimms@record-journal.com.


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