|The cast of the film, 1776, getting into it with words--and swords.|
|The cast of Hamilton, getting into it with rap. (The guns come later.)|
It's very funny, with lyrics like the oft-repeated, "You're obnoxious and disliked, that cannot be denied," in reference to John Adams, with domestic (and accurate) arguments between Adams and his wife, Abigail, over sewing pins and saltpeter (a prime component of gunpowder that required much housewifery.)
|Virginia Vestoff and William Daniels-in both film and original cast.|
|Blythe Danner in the film/Betty Buckley on Broadway. And|
isn't she full of the glow of pregnancy? That's Gwyneth in there.
1776 also lays plain, in music, no less, the terrible financial equation that linked northern merchants to southern slavery (Molasses to Rum to Slaves) and one song, Cool, Cool, Considerate Men, speaks so convincingly about the joys and values of conservatism-of political decisions only being made by men of property--that Richard Nixon successfully asked the film's producer (his buddy, Jack Warner) to remove that song from the film after his private screening of it.
Don't worry. Though Warner demanded the song be destroyed, the film's editor saved it, and it is currently in versions that are available for sale.
|The Brilliant Paul Hecht is the first full figure on the right.|
In this song, the men sing:
"Come ye cool cool conservative men
The likes of which may never be seen again.
We have land, cash in hand
Self-command, future planned.
Fortune flies, society survives
In neatly ordered lives with well-endowered wives.
We sing hosanna, hosanna
To our breeding and our banner
We are cool."
And while they sing, they dance their staid minuet (a dance of an earlier time) only to the right. And okay, that term is an anachronism--nobody called conservatives the Right in those days--but it is also philosophically dead-on.
Dickinson replies, in the most telling words of any musical I have ever heard, "But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.") Keep that in mind during this Presidential election cycle.
|William Daniels, Howard Da Silva and Ken Howard |
as Adams, Franklin and Jefferson, waiting for the eagle of liberty to hatch.
I am a passionate believer that education doesn't have to be a slog. Watch 1776 with your children, and listen to Hamilton--or go see it, should you be so blessed. You might find yourself learning something, too. And I guarantee you that what you learn will stick.