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This Day in History - March 16

'1776' opened on Broadway.
Video | March 16, 2017 | By Jonathan Shipley


On this day, in 1969, the musical 1776 opened on Broadway. It was soon nominated for five Tony Awards, winnning three, including Best Musical.

With music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone, it is, you might guess, about America's independence, and the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Warmly reviewed and critically acclaimed, it stayed on Broadway stages until 1972. It was in 1972 that a feature film, based on the musical, opened. The cast included William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, John Cullum and Blythe Danner. The movie was not well received. The New York Times exclaimed, "The music is resolutely unmemorable. The lyrics sound as if they'd been written by someon high on root beer." Roger Ebert noted, "This is an insult to the real men who were Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and the rest." Even so, it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, losing to Cabaret

From a Tony Awards telecast: 

From a production:

From the film: