The Round Barn Theatre Staff
1776 is a high energy fast paced retelling of the quest to create the Declaration of Independence by the founding fathers of America. John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are the main characters. One of the most fun aspects of the show is that you see these men as real people, with feelings and moods and flaws. It is far from just a history lesson. Some of the humor is a bit bawdy but it is a great show for kids and adults. There is a lot of comedy, mostly from the wit of Ben Franklin and in the conflict between the two sides. They battle over every little detail, the language, the war, George Washington, and of course slavery. They even fight about whether the mascot for America should be an eagle, a dove or a turkey in a song called "The Egg". The show is filled with great musical numbers.
Recently a major hit on Broadway, the first revival of
the show that played for years in its original run in 1969. It won several
Tony Awards including best musical for 1969.
The Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres opens its limited four week production of the 1776 September 2 through September 27. It is the fourth show of the season to run in repertory with Plain And Fancy, the theatres perennial musical. A cast of 21 men and 3 women has been assembled for the production; a platoon of 15 additional actors supplementing the resident cast. "This show will maximize the versatility of our acting and artistic company," said Jerry OBoyle, artistic director. "The pivotal role of John Adams will be played by full-time stage manager Richard P. Snyder. This is his first on stage role here since playing Jesus in Godspell in 1996. His wife Abigail will be played by Laura Freeman, costume coordinator for the theatre and most recently Eliza Doolittle in the summer production of My Fair Lady. Master carpenter Dave Waterman has spent the season chaffing at the bit to play crotchety Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island. Like Hopkins, Waterman is from originally from Providence, R.I. and the show will open on his birthday. He was even willing to shave the beard hes had since 1972 for the part!" added OBoyle. At the same time additional technical expertise has been added to the artistic staff. After using outside sound system consultation for the last three seasons, sound designer Matthew Doyle has become a full-time staff member.
1776 is unique in theatre history in that poetic license rarely alters the facts during this comical and inspirational musical. The composer, Sherman Edwards, spent nine and one half years researching and creating the show. And although it was hot and miserable in Philadelphia that summer, 1776 is anything but stuffy. Catchy, humorous songs like "The Egg," "The Lees of Old Virginia," "Piddle Twiddle and Resolve," and "But, Mr. Adams" humanize a collection of men we know otherwise only from the history books. As with all great musical comedy it is the moments of revelation, seriousness and emotional power that give it redeeming value. 1776 accomplishes all of those emotions while "setting the stage" for one of the most improbable events in human political history.
"We thrive on historical shows like 1776," said Laura Freeman, costume designer for the theatre. Each actor is given detailed background and biographical data on his character. Research into the customs of the day and region provide keys to the dress and grooming of each of the characters. "I am a stickler on proper facial hair for the men in all of our shows. This season, between the Amish men in Plain And Fancy and Mark Twains 1840s Big River, Bernard Shaws 1910s My Fair Lady, Greeces Zorba and World War II Austria in The Sound Of Music, our men are always in the process of growing mustaches, trimming sideburns or removing beards. They become their characters."
The theme buffets offered during 1776 in Amish Acres Barn Loft Grill will come from the menu at City Tavern in Philadelphia. The tavern, called the "most genteel" tavern in America by John Adams, was one of the social, political, and economic centers of late-18th century Philadelphia. It has been reconstructed on its original foundation and is part of Independence National Historic Park. The hearty menu will include Tavern Crab Cakes, West Indies Pepperpot Soup, and Pork Loin Oatmeal Stout.
Part of rehearsal time for this production is allocated to uncovering the great mystery of modern speech: how did we come to speak the way we speak. Many of the philosophical differences among the representatives of the colonies were compounded by subtle accents and behavioral patterns that differentiated Bostonians from Virginians and South Carolinians in 1776. The artistic staff for 1776 are looking at current trends in behavior, especially speech and attempting to trace their origins back to our "founding fathers and mothers." The hope is that the results become an allegory for the innate differences in people.
"Although we have presented a successful childrens version of 1776 for students, this fully staged, professional production, will have great impact upon our subscribers and student groups who attend," said Richard Pletcher, executive producer of The Round Barn Theatre."The show proves in simple and undeniable terms, that people acting on the strength of their convictions can change the world. Our schedule includes a matinee most weeks plus weekend evening performances. This is an opportunity for northern Indiana parents to expose their children to a first-class, professional production of a wonderful story, right in their own backyard." Added Pletcher.
Tickets are available through the Round Barn Theatre Box
The Round Barn Theatre is the National Home of Plain & Fancy, the 1955 Broadway musical about Amish life and love. The show has surpassed 2,000 performances before over a quarter of a million patrons. 1776 plays in repertory with Plain & Fancy. The remaining shows of the 1998 season include Zorba and The Sound of Music.
Executive Producer, Richard Pletcher
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
Director/Choreographer, Jerry OBoyle
Assistant Director, Jessica Harrigan Texidor
Production Stage Manager, Shana Leigh Herb
Set Designer, Colby Martin Landers
Lighting Designer, Jerry OBoyle
Sound Designer, Matthew Doyle
Costume Designer, The Costume Shop at Heartland Scenic Studio
Costume Coordinator, Laura Freeman
Props Coordinator, Robin Aronson
Musical Director, Linda Slein
Production Assistants, Robert Geils & Jeremy Littlejohn
Reed Player, Ryan Claus
Sound Board Operator, Matthew Doyle
Light Board Operator, Shana Leigh Herb
Dance Captain, Jessica Harrigan Texidor
Fight Captain, Rusty N. Tennant
Wig Master, Robert Geils
1776 is presented through special
arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied
by Music Theatre International,
The Orchestra for 1776, although
unseen, is live and well backstage.
Members of the Continental Congress
Robin Aronson (Chamber Maid, Violinist) just completed her MFA in Acting at The University of Connecticut, where she acted and played violin in her thesis role, The Fool in King Lear. A native of Michigan, Robin graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Theatre. This season at The Round Barn Theatre she has performed the role of Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady and Emma Miller in Plain and Fancy. An Equity Membership candidate, her favorite shows include The Grapes of Wrath (Ma Joad), Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice), Six Degrees of Separation (Ouisa), A View From the Bridge (Beatrice Carbone), and Fiddler on the Roof (Yente). Robin has played violin for over eleven years and played in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony for five years.
Christine Asero (Martha Jefferson) Originally from Bowie, Maryland, Christine holds a degree in theatre from the University of Maryland and has performed throughout the Washington D.C. area. She performs the role of Hilda Miller in The Round Barn Theatre production of Plain and Fancy. Her favorite roles include performing on the cruise ship MV. Cunard Countess, Diana Morales in A Chorus Line, Sr. Amnesia in Nunsense, and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, just to name a few. She has also sung in local cabarets acquiring a repertoire of music from opera to country. Christine now resides in New York City and thanks her family for their continuing love and support.
Jim Beck (Robert Livingston) is pleased to be returning to The Round Barn Theatre for his 4th season. Originally from Milwaukee, he has been a Hoosier for the past 13 years. Jim continues to study voice at IUSB, work in a busy E.R., and train for commercials and industrial films in Chicago. At Amish Acres, Jim has been in various roles from Pianist for Plain and Fancy, to Musical Director, to acting on both Round Barn Theatre stages. Favorite roles include Father Jacob in Joseph Dreamcoat, Doumergue in The Bakers Wife, and Hoagy Carmichael in Indiana Music on My Mind. Other acting highlights include playing a "mean" high priest in Floridas Passion Play. Jim would like to thank his parents and sister, Judy, for their love and support. He dedicates this season to Lynn Timmon, a director from Niles, Michigan, who gave him the theatre "bug" years ago.
Sam Brown (Charles Thomson) was raised here in Nappanee and, as a teenager, performed in numerous high school and civic theatre productions. After high school, Sam performed in dinner/mystery theatre shows with Playhouse Productions and joined The Round Barn Theatre last season, performing as a Confederate Soldier in Shenandoah, Pierre in The Bakers Wife, and Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Sam is delighted to be returning for the 1998 season!
James Ryan Caldwell (John Dickinson) A native of Goshen, Indiana, James Ryan was most recently seen at The Round Barn Theatre as Huckleberry Finn in Big River and Peter Reber in Plain and Fancy and last season as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Henry Anderson in Shenandoah. Before visiting the Round Barn Theatre, James Ryan spent two years pursuing a musical theatre major at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. While at Millikin, James Ryan performed numerous roles including Frederick in The Pirates of Penzance, Ralph Clark in Our Countrys Good, Orlando in As You Like It, and Jerry in The Zoo Story.
Ryan Claus (Orchestra Manager) is a graduate of Indiana Universitys School of Music, having received a Bachelors Degree in Multiple Woodwind Performance in 1997. Ryan is thrilled to be back at The Round Barn Theatre after playing woodwinds for The Bakers Wife and Joseph Dreamcoat last season.
Peter Despotopoulos (Thomas Jefferson) grew up in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Upon graduating high school, he was accepted at The Boston Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Theatre, where he, at one time or another, majored in all three of these art forms. This season at The Round Barn Theatre Peter has appeared as Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady, The Duke in Big River, and Dan King in Plain and Fancy. Peter has performed in many theatres throughout the United States and Canada in shows such as A Chorus Line, Zorba, and Beauty and the Beast. He currently resides in The Big Apple.
Matthew "Frisco" Doyle (Sound Designer/Board Operator) would like to thank all those who have made this journey possible, his Mother and his Nana for their love and support and his Father for raising him.
Jayson Elliott (Roger Sherman) is thrilled to be returning for his 2nd season at The Round Barn Theatre. Audiences may remember him from Joseph Dreamcoat (Jacob, The Baker), The Bakers Wife (Casimir) and the ensemble of My Fair Lady, Indiana Music On My Mind, Shenandoah and The Music Man. Jay is originally from Rochester and now resides in Indianapolis. Jay would like to thank everyone at The Round Barn Theatre for their love, support, and inspiration.
Joe Ford (Edward Rutledge) A native Hoosier, Joe began his work at The Round Barn Theatre in 1995 with Fiddler on the Roof. He has since completed his junior year as a musical theatre major at Western Michigan University. There his performances include Cabaret and Berlin to Broadway, among others. Local audiences may remember him as Matt in The Fantasticks and from The Music Man and State Fair here at The Round Barn Theatre. Other favorite credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Pirates of Penzance, and 1776. Joe would like to thank his family and his "biggest fan" for all their love and inspiration.
Laura Freeman (Abigail Adams, Costume Coordinator) has had the pleasure of performing for Round Barn Theatre patrons this season as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Woman #1 in Closer Than Ever, and Katie Yoder in Plain and Fancy. Last season she performed the roles of Anna Held in Tintypes and Genevieve in The Bakers Wife and in the early years of Plain and Fancy, Laura portrayed Hilda Miller. Nationally, she has worked in Omaha, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Chicago, Coldwater (Michigan) and Newark (Ohio). She has toured extensively as The Witch in Into the Woods and The Narrator in Joseph all over the East Coast and Canada. She also managed to work in Europe, doing a production of Hair and returned sane. Shed like to dedicate this year to her parents, "Thanks for storing my stuff for so long . . . Im finally putting down roots!!!"
Robert Geils (Richard Henry Lee) Originally from Chicago, Robert returns to the Round Barn Theatre for his fourth year. He is probably most remembered as Tom Sawyer in Big River, Motel the Tailor in Fiddler on the Roof, and Potiphar in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Shana Leigh Herb (Production Stage Manager), originally from Reading, Pennsylvania is pleased to be joining the company this season. Shana worked most recently as a company member with Theatre Outlet in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she wore many hats, including Box Office Manager, Dramaturge, Stage Manager, and Actress. Some favorite roles there included Mueller in Gods Country, Agnes in A Bright Room Called Day, Zorah in Inspecting Carol, and Simonne in Marat/Sade.
Shawn Kobb (George Read) A native of Nappanee, Shawn is happy to be making his second appearance The Round Barn Theatre. Since performing in last seasons Shenandoah, Shawn has completed his third year at Manchester College where he studies communications and theatre. As well as acting on stage, he has also directed, done technical work, and has been a director/actor for the Manchester College Improv Troupe.
Colby Martin Landers (Set Designer, Technical Director) comes to Nappanee from West Texas. He has worked as a designer, technical director, and as an actor in various theatres throughout the states including Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Texas (of course) and now Indiana. Colby is currently working on his Masters thesis in Theatre History and Criticism, setting himself up for a teaching career. He dedicates his creative work to his puppy dog, "Denver Bliss", who was left behind in Texas.
Jeremy Littlejohn (James Wilson) is happy to be returning for his second season at Round Barn Theatre. Jeremy has been seen in Round Barn Theatre productions of Shenandoah, The Bakers Wife, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as The King in Big River, Jamie in My Fair Lady, and most recently Ezra in Plain and Fancy. Local audiences may remember him from the Quartet in The Music Man and as Mortimer in The Fantasticks. Other favorite credits include Guys and Dolls and The Diary of Anne Frank.
Dave Marty (Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon) A newcomer to the Round Barn Theatre stage, Dave brings with him a diverse background in community, college, and church based theatre. He currently resides in Syracuse, Indiana, with his wife and two daughters. Dave is employed full-time as Director of Family Ministries at Calvary Church in Syracuse, where drama frequently enriches the worship experience. Dave is also the author of The Ugly Unicorn, a childrens story which he performs locally using his unicycling skills.
Jerry OBoyle (Benjamin Franklin, Artistic Director) appeared on-stage this season at The Round Barn Theatre as Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady and as Man #1 in Closer Than Ever and during the 1997 season The Baker in The Bakers Wife and as T.R. in Tintypes. Jerry was also responsible for the staging of Shenandoah, Schoolhouse Rock Live! and Joseph. In 1996 he appeared as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Prior to relocating to Nappanee in 1994, Jerry appeared at several Chicago-area theatres, most notably Marriott's Lincolnshire (Into The Woods); The Wellington (Theda Bara...); Northlight (Dealing); Pegasus Players (Pacific Overtures); and The Apple Tree Theatre (Zorba). Jerry first came to work at Amish Acres 10 years ago and has since performed in over 600 performances of Plain and Fancy. 1998 directing projects include Closer Than Ever, Big River, and Plain and Fancy.
Wayne Overmyer (Dr. Lyman Hall) is making his first appearance on The Round Barn Theatre stage. A native of Elkhart, Indiana, he is a retired educator and has participated in many productions at Elkhart Civic Theatre. Wayne most recently appeared at The Bristol Opera House in Elkhart Civic Theatres production of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. He has also appeared in several local and regional television commercials, voice-overs, and industrial videos for Fox 28, Vision Productions, and Golden Dome Productions. Other interests include computer consulting, reading, traveling (to see shows), and anything concerning theatre.
J.T. Patton (Andrew McNair) graduated from Indiana University this past spring with a BA in theatre and drama. He currently resides in his hometown of Elkhart. At Indiana University J.T. appeared in productions of The Trojan Women, The Devils Disciple, Our Town, and My Fair Lady, among others. J.T. has also participated in the apprenticeship program at Actors Theatre of Louisville where he performed in a childrens theatre production and an evening of ten-minute plays.
Richard Pletcher (Executive Producer) founded Amish Acres, with his father LaVern, in 1968. The Old Order Amish farm was preserved and restored and is now listed on The National Register of Historic Places. Following a one-year experiment in dinner-theatre in 1971, he added theatre to the interpretation of the historic farm by producing Plain and Fancy in 1986. The play has run continuously for eleven years and has surpassed 2,000 performances. Amish Acres became a musical repertory theatre in 1996. Productions of Closer Than Ever, Big River, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!, Fiddler on the Roof, Godspell, Annie, Tintypes, State Fair, The Music Man, Shenandoah, The Bakers Wife, Schoolhouse Rock Live! and Joseph have brought the theatre regional and national attention. He conceived the Second Stage production Indiana: Music on my Mind, an evolving musical tribute to Hoosiers Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter and poet-laureate, James Whitcomb Riley.
Noel Reed (Samuel Chase) is a veteran of over 100 stage productions in north central and northeastern Indiana. He debuted his talents at The Round Barn Theatre last season as The Reverend Byrd in Shenandoah. This recently retired school psychologist notes the favorite shows in which he has performed include Fiddler on the Roof and Guys and Dolls. He and his lovely wife reside in Pierceton, Indiana.
Geoffrey Roth (Joseph Hewes) A native of Goshen, Indiana, Geoffrey recently graduated from Michigan State University where he studied medicinal chemistry and received a Masters Degree in chemistry. He is currently employed by a private laboratory in Goshen. This is Geoffreys first appearance at The Round Barn Theatre.
Scott Saegesser (Caesar Rodney, A Courier) Although he was born in Illinois, Scott has been living in New York for the past 10 years and considers himself a native of the Big Apple. He is a core company member of a childrens theatre company that performs regularly at The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. This year at The Round Barn Theatre Scott directed My Fair Lady and choreographed Closer Than Ever, Big River, and Plain and Fancy. He also enjoyed playing the Recently Freed Corporal in last seasons Shenandoah. Some of his other favorite roles include Dick in Dames at Sea, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, and a pair of those dancing feet in 42nd Street. Scott also enjoys performing cabaret and is a certified fitness instructor.
Stanley Schorr (John Hancock) comes to The Round Barn Theatre from Northeast Pennsylvania. This season he has performed the role of Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady and Jacob Yoder in Plain and Fancy. Prior to his work here, Stanley was most recently seen as Mr. Snow in Carousel. Other musical theatre credits include Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Philippe in Yeston/Kopits Phantom, Bud Frump in How to Succeed , and others. Operetta credits include Einstein in Die Fledermaus, Tamino in The Magic Flute, and Pish-Tush in The Mikado. Stanley holds a BA in Music from Bloomsburg University.
Jerry Scott, Sr. (Dr. Josiah Bartlett) is making is first appearance at The Round Barn Theatre. Originally from Wisconsin, he now resides in Goshen, Indiana. Jerry began his acting career at The Bristol Opera House performing in Born Yesterday and The Dining Room. He has also performed in the Goshen Community Theatre production of The Fantastiksand in dinner theatre productions of The Vampire Among Us, You Stole My Heart, Charlie Chan and the Dragon Queen, Whodunit, and Sherlock Holmes and the Scandal in Transylvania. Jerry has taken classes in improv and stand-up comedy and has been seen at Crackers in Indianapolis and Goshen, The Funny Bone in South Bend, and Snickers in Fort Wayne. He is also a member of the South Bend Toastmasters.
Richard P. Snyder (John Adams) Originally from LaPorte, Indiana, Richard was last seen on The Round Barn Theatre stage as Jesus in Godspell in 1996. This season he has stage managed Closer Than Ever, Big River, Plain and Fancy, and My Fair Lady. Richard spent the last four years in Chicago working as Properties Master for The Gin Game and Deck Manager for Forever Plaid, both at The Royal George Theatre and Technical Director for The Organic Touchstone Theatre. Some of his favorite acting roles include Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Mr. Peachum in The Three Penny Opera, and Ezra in Plain and Fancy.
Rusty N. Tennant (Col. Thomas McKean) A graduate of Michigan State Universitys Theatre Department, Rusty most recently performed with Connecticut Repertory Theatre in the role of Rankin in Over There! He has also spent much of the last year touring with The National Theatre for the Performing Arts companies of Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote. Born and raised in Michigan, Rusty now resides in New York City. Favorite roles include Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing), Action (West Side Story), and Puck (A Midsummer Nights Dream). Rusty dedicates his work to the loving memory of his mother, Estella.
Jessica Harrigan Texidor (Assistant Director, Dance Captain) is originally from Midland, Michigan. She now resides in Chicago, where she appeared in The Music Man at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Jeanne and Dionne in Hair, Sonia in Godspell, and was assistant director and choreographer for Whoop-Dee-Doo! at The Royal George Theatre. Jessica choreographed The Round Barn Theatre production My Fair Lady this season and performs the role of Ruth Winters in Plain and Fancy. Other credits include Carousel with The Cleveland Opera, Caribe Celebration for Norwegian Cruise Lines, Phantom of the Opera (Sivak/Bell), and Twas the Night Before Christmas in Milwaukee. Jessica has a BA in Theatre from Loyola University in Chicago.
Dave Waterman (Stephen Hopkins) Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Dave comes to us from Allentown, Pennsylvania, having traveled the country as a handyman for 20 years. He began his career in 1987 at Bloomsburg University, where he acted and served as master carpenter for over 30 productions. Work with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival took him to Allentown in 1992, where he later collaborated at PA Stage and Theatre Outlet. At Theatre Outlet he met his fiancee, Shana, also a theatre professional.
City Tavern, Philadelphia, where it all began
A Triumph of Tradition Called the "most genteel" tavern in America
by John Adams, City Tavern was one of the social, political, and economic centers of late-18th century Philadelphia. It was built originally in 1773
by a group of eminent Philadelphians who felt that their hometown deserved
a fine tavern that reflected its status as the largest, most cosmopolitan city in British North America. The tavern gained fame as the gathering place for members of the Continental Congresses and the Constitutional Convention, and for officials of the Federal Government from 1790 1800. The building
has been reconstructed on the original site as part of Independence National Historical Park. The Round Barn Theatres 1776 Buffet menu is inspired
by City Taverns present dinner menu. Chef Brenda Ritter has prepared
the following menu for your pleasure.
Please note, due to the historic architecture and landscape of many Amish Acres attractions,
handicapped accessibility may be limited. The restaurant, theatres, lodging, and some shops are all fully accessible.
Land of the Free and
the home of the Brave
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Nappanee, IN 46550
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