Wheaton Drama to present award-winning ‘1776’

Wheaton Drama will take on “1776,” the award-winning musical by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone, starting Friday, May 27, for a run of 15 performances. The clever and rich re-creation of the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence is a musical for the whole family.

The show is not performed very often because it requires a large cast of men. However, we found that when you announce you are going to do it, a lot of men show up. It’s a good show that needs to be done more often.

Numerous famous and familiar persons — John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few — tell the story of eight tumultuous weeks in a hot and humid Philadelphia, where delegates from the 13 colonies debate the wisdom and need for independence. Ideologies and personal prejudices clash in a dramatic and musical way.

Not many of us know the details surrounding this occurrence, but we get to hear and see what it was like in an entertaining and often humorous manner.

It is a story we think we know, but as you watch the show you start to ask yourself, “Are we living under a hoax?” The production is a history lesson that is certainly entertaining with a lot of comedy, a lot of humanity.

The part of John Adams is being played by Sean Ogren, while Daniel Baggott-Miller and Randall W. Knott play Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, respectively.

Kimberly Baker plays Martha Jefferson and Jean Austin is Abigail Adams. The set designer is Penny Salveson, with construction by Ben Aylesworth. Harmony Barry is the choreographer, William H. Rush is the music director, and Jo-Ann Ledger is the production manager and assistant director. Bruce Ebner is the stage manager.

More than 30 other dedicated and talented individuals make up the rest of the cast and technical production team.

The performances start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, then at 3 p.m. Sunday at Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale St. They then continue at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, through June 19.

Tickets for Thursdays are $18 and other performances are $21. To buy tickets, visit or call (630)-260-1820.

John Adams (played by Sean Ogren) confronts John Dickinson (Caleb Sjogren) as members of Congress look on during a dress rehearsal for Wheaton Drama’s performance of “1776,” which starts Friday, May 27. Photo courtesy of Steven Merkel

If you go

If you go

What: Wheaton Drama, Inc. stages “1776”

When: Opens at 8 p.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sundays, through June 19

Where: Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton

Cost: $18 for Thursday; $21 Friday through Sunday

Details: or (630) 260-1820