Elm Street Junior High
April 14-16, 1978
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Based on a Concept by Sherman Edwards
Original Production Directed by Peter Hunt
Originally Produced on the Broadway Stage by Stuart Ostrow
Members of the Continental Congress
John Hancock Howard Jones
Dr. Josiah Bartlett Alfred Erickson
John Adams Frank Graham
Stephen Hopkins Maurice Coutu
Roger Sherman John Baird
Lewis Morris Robert Narkunas
Robert Livingston Carlos Vargas-Mass
Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon Albin Tamulonis
Benjamin Franklin Jay Cormier
John Dickinson Donald E. Sisson
James Wilson Paul Asente
Caesar Rodney Wayne Vanier
Col. Thomas McKean Joel Levesque
George Read Bruce May
Samuel Chase David Crockett
Richard Henry Lee Sid Basha
Thomas Jefferson David Pierce
Joseph Hewes Mark Plamondon
Edward Rutledge Michael Davids
Dr. Lyman Hall John McAllister
Charles Thompson Terry Toland
Andrew McNair John Doherty
Abigail Adams Robin MacDonald
Martha Jefferson Bonnie Weymouth
A Leather Apron David Wood
A Painter David Wood
A Courier Russell Perrins
Violin Bozina Bruziak
Cello Rowena Carr
Bass Paul Pesce
Flute Heather Pyle
Clarinet Alison Price
Oboe Gail Grycel
Trumpet Dale Floman
Trombone Don Wallin, Alan Shepard
French Horn Ellen Michaud, Janet Mentus
Keyboard Jo Millett
Percussion Peter Marsh
Nashua Auto Co., Inc.
Street Car Players
The Anselmian Summer Theater
Church of the Good Shepherd
Peerless Electrical Distributors
Machinist's in Manchester
New Hampshire Consistory 32nd Degree
Production and Staff List
Director-Choreographer Lorraine Graham
Musical Director Adrith Provencher
Pianist Jo Millett
Assistant Rehearsal Pianist Wendy Mahoney
Cast Coordinator Franceska Bosowski, assisted by Bob Narkunas
Set Design Joan Seller
Set Construction Justin Crowley,
Set Painting John Prendergast,
Pam St. Laurent,
Lighting Richard Meaney, David Gilmore, Bruce Tatro
Sound Ray Tackett
Stage Manager Bill Schultz
Stage Crew Justin Crowley,
Costume Design Mary Vargas, assisted by Margaret Tamulonis
Costume Committee Inez Martinez, Betty Jones, Diane Rosenblum
Properties Elaine Duhamel, Mary Lou Tackett, Jewel Shanahan
Make-up Chairman Jackie Maynard
Character Make-up Pearl Ware, Claire Anderson
Make-up Committee Wendy Mahoney,
Hair Design Catherine Andruskevich
Stylists Fernand Croteau, Lorraine Graham
Program Linnea McAllister, assisted by Francesca Bosowski
Program Ads Dan Pelletier,
Lorraine Graham and
Members of the Board
Patrons Albin Tamulonis
Tickets Denise Duhamel
Publicity Chairman Anne Way, assisted by Dan Pelletier
Posters, Program Cover, and Collage Arrangement Joel Saren
Cast Photographer Millie Wright
Studio Photographer Richard Croteau
House Chairmen Frances and Ernest Peterson
Ushers Gisele LaFrance,
Barbara and Donald Page,
Edgar and Betty Badeau,
Ena and Dan Carraher,
Kay and Ed Goranson,
Bob and Carol Croatti,
Concessions Jane & Valerie Vaskas, Fran Bosowski
Refreshments at Rehearsals Dan Pelletier
Membership Chairman Linnea McAllister
Bank Window Display Sally Ann Moyer
Afterglow Margaret Tamulonis,
Auditions Bob Narkunas, chairman;
Moving and Cleaning Crew Justin Crowley,
Members of the Cast
The first question we are asked by those who have seenor read1776 is
invariably: "Is it true? Did it really happen that way?"
The answer is yes.
Certainly a few changes have been made in order to fulfill basic dramatic
tenets. To quote a European dramatist, "God writes lousy theater."
However, let us list those elements of our play that have been taken, unchanged
and unadorned, from documented fact.
The weather in Philadelphia that late spring and early summer of 1776 was
unusually hot and humid, resulting in a bumper crop of horseflies incubated in the
stable next door to the State House (now Independence Hall).
John Adams was indeed "obnoxious and disliked"the description is his own.
Benjamin Franklin, the oldest member of the Congress, suffered from gout in
his later years and often "drowsed" in public.
Thomas Jefferson, the junior member of the Virginia delegation, was
entrusted with the daily weather report.
Rhode Island's Stephen Hopkins, known to his colleagues as "Old Grape and
Guts" because of his fondness for distilled refreshment, always wore his round
black, wide-brimmed Quaker's hat in the chamber.
Portly Samuel Chase, the gourmand from Maryland (pronounced Mary-land
in those times), was referred to (behind his back, of course) as "Bacon-Face."
Connecticut's Roger Sherman always sat apart from his fellow Congressmen,
sipping coffee from a saucer-like bowl.
Caesar Rodney of Delaware, suffering from skin cancer, never appeared in
public without a green scarf wrapped around his face.
George Washington's dispatches arrived on an average of three a day, and
almost all of them were "gloomy" to the point of despair.
Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, the youngest member of Congress, was
the leading proponent of individual rights for individual states.
Adams knew he would not receive his proper due from posterity. He wrote
that "the whole history of this Revolution will be a lie, from beginning to end."
And, equally, he knew that Franklin was the stuff of which national legends are
built. They would certy that "Franklin did this, Franklin did that, Franklin did
some other damned thing... Franklin smote the ground and out sprang George
Washington, fully-grown and on his horse... Franklin then electrified him with his
miraculous lightening rod and the three of themFranklin, Washington and the
horseconducted the entire Revolution by themselves."
The Declaration of Independence was debated by the Congress for three full
days. It underwent eighty-six separate changes.
Jefferson, though a slaveholder himself, declared that "nothing is more
certainly written in the Book of Fate than that this people shall be free." And
further: "The rights of human nature are deply wounded by this infamous
The deadlock existing within the Delaware delegation was broken by mortally
ill Caesar Rodney, who, in great pain, had ridden all night from Dover, a distance of
some eighty miles, arriving just in time to save the motion on independence from
When the motion on independence had passed, John Dickinson of
Pennsylvania, the leader of the anti-independence forces, refused to sign the
Declaration, a document he felt he could not endorse. But asserting a fidelity to America,
he left the Congress to enlist in the Continental Army as a privatethough he was
entitled to a commissionand served courageously with the Delaware Militia.
The conversion of James Wilson of Pennsylvania from the "Nay" to the
"Yea" column at the last minute is an event without any surviving explanation. All
that is definitely known is that Wilson, a former law student of Dickinson's and
certainly under his influence in Congress as his previous voting record testifies,
suddenly changed his position on independence and, as a result, is generally credited
with casting the vote that decided this issue. But why? A logical solution to this
mystery was found when we imagined one fear he might have possessed that would
have been stronger than his fear of Dickinson's wraththe fear of going down in
history as the man who singlehandedly prevented American independence. Such a
position would have been totally consistent with his well-known penchant for
The exchanges, spoken and sung, between John and Abigail Adams are the
result of distributing, as dialogue, sections and phrases from various letters. The list
of their children's diseases, the constant requests for "saltpetre for gunpowder"
(and the counter-request for pins), the use of the tender salutation "Dearest
Friend," the catalogue of Abigail's faults, the news of the farm in Braintree failingeven
certain song lyrics transferred intactall these were edited and rearranged in
an attempt to establish a dramatically satisfying relationship.
This same process was used to construct George Washington's dispatches from
the field. Literally dozens were selected, from which individual lines were borrowed
and then patched together in order to form the five communiques that now appear
in the play.
And finally, John Adams' extraordinary prophecy, made on July 3, 1776,
describing the way Independence Day would be celebrated by future generations of
Americans and written in a letter to his wife on that date has been paraphrased
and adapted into lyric form for the song "Is Anybody There?" sung by Adams in
Scene 7. The original lines are:
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations
as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the
day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It
ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games,
sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illumination, from one end of this
continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well
aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain
this Declaration and support and defend these States. Yet, through all
the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that
the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will
triumph in that day's transaction, even although we should rue it,
which I trust to God we shall not.
We have attempted, in the paragraphs above, to answer the question, "Is it
true?" What we cannot answer, however, is how such a question could possibly be
asked so often by Americans. What they want to know is whether or not the story
of their political origin, the telling of their national legend, is correct as presented.
Don't they know? Haven't they ever heard it before? And if not, why not? As we
say, it's a question we cannot answer.
May, June and July, 1776
A single setting representing the Chamber and an anteroom of the
Continental Congress, a Mall, High Street, and Thomas Jefferson's
Room, in Philadelphia; and certain reaches of the mind of John Adams.
The Musical Numbers
Scene 1 The Chamber of the Continental Congress
Sit Down, John John Adams and the Congress
Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve John Adams
Till Then John and Abigail Adams
Scene 2 The Mall
The Lees of Old Virginia Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams
Scene 3 The Chamber
But, Mr. Adams John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston
Scene 4 Thomas Jefferson's Room on High Street
Yours, Yours, Yours John and Abigail Adams
He Plays the Violin Martha Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams
Scene 5 The Chamber
Cool, Cool Considerate Men John Dickinson, Edward Rutledge, Lyman Hall, Joseph Hewes, Robert Livingston, Lewis Morris, George Read and James Wilson
Momma, Look Sharp Courier, Andrew McNair and Leather Apron
Scene 6 A Congressional Anteroom
The Egg Benjamin Franklin, John Adams
Scene 7 The Chamber
Molasses to Rum Edward Rutledge
Compliments Abigail Adams
Is Anybody There? John Adams