Thursday, May 31, 2007

"For I Have Crossed the Rubicon"

At the end of 1776, John poignantly and defiantly sings:

"For I have crossed the Rubicon

Let the bridge be burn'd behind me

Come what may, Come what may"

The Rubicon*.
The point of no return. And that is where I proudly sit today on the day of Opening Night of 1776.

No regrets, no going back. It is time to move forward; to share this amazing cast and story. This has been an incredible journey for me. I have been so honored and awed to be in the presence of so many extraordinary performers and technicians. Thank you for all your hard work, for all the fun and most of all for your Commitment!

Join us and see what all the "buzz" is about.


May 31-June 3, June 7-10

Friday and Saturday 8 p.m.
Sunday- 2p.m.

Riverwalk Theatre

Reservations 482-5700
*"Crossing the Rubicon" is a popular idiom meaning to go past a point of no return because the river was an ancient boundary between Gaul and Italy. Julius Caesar crossed the river in 49 BC deliberately as an act of war where he is supposed to have said that "the die is cast" and where he would eventually come to power. Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"It So Happens that the Word is Unalienable not Inalienable."?

"Inalienable" (or "unalienable") is a term borrowed from English common law. Some property rights were alienable (they could be sold or granted) and some were inalienable (they could only be inherited according to fixed rule). The distinction between alienable and unalienable rights was introduced by Frances Hutcheson (philosopher) in his A System of Moral Philosophy (1755) based on the Reformation principle of the liberty of conscience. One could not in fact give up the capacity for private judgment (e.g., about religious questions) regardless of any external contracts or oaths to religious or secular authorities so that right is "unalienable." In discussions of social contract theory, "inalienable rights" were said to be those rights that could not be surrendered by citizens to the sovereign. Such rights were thought to be natural rights, independent of positive law. Natural rights date back at least to the Roman Empire, and were recognized during medieval times, but in this context are an element of the classical liberalism of the 18th and 19th centuries. Classical Liberal thinkers reasoned that each man is endowed with rights, of which the rights to life, liberty and property were thought to be fundamental. However, they reasoned that in the natural state only the strongest could benefit from their rights. Each individual forms an implicit social contract, ceding his or her rights to the authority to protect his or her right from being abused. For this reason, almost all classical liberal thinkers, for example, accepted the death penalty and incarceration as necessary elements of government. In England and America the 17th-century philosopher John Locke discussed natural rights in his work, and identified them as being "life, liberty, and estate (or property)", and argued that such fundamental rights could not be surrendered in the social contract. These ideas were claimed as justification for the rebellion of the American colonies. As George Mason stated in his draft for the Virginia Declaration of Rights, "all men are born equally free," and hold "certain inherent natural rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity." Jefferson took his division of rights into alienable and unalienable from Hutcheson, who made the distinction popular and important."In the The 1776 United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously condensed this to:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. . ." (from Wikipedia)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Yet through all the Gloom"

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states.Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory.I can see that the end is worth all the means.This is our day of deliverance." - John Adams

Saturday, May 26, 2007

"And When They Didn't Come Home..."

On the eve of signing the most important document in history, the Courier brings his last dispatch from George Washington to the members of Congress:

"I can now report with certainty that the eve of battle in New York is near at hand... At the present time my forces consist entirely of Haslet's Delaware Militia and Smallwood's Mary-landers, a total of five thousand troops to stand against--twenty five thousand of the enemy--and I begin to notice that many of them are lads under fifteen and old men...How it will end only Providence can direct--but dear God! what brave men--I shall lose before this business ends."

Words with such poignancy as America commemorates this memorial day in the midst of our celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Monday, May 21, 2007

"It's Hot as Hell, in Philadelphia"

The construction of the Pennsylvania State House later known as Independence Hall was the most ambitious and biggest building project of the thirteen colonies. It took almost 21 years for it to be completed because the Provincial government paid for it in dribs and drabs. Andrew Hamilton oversaw the planning and worked to see it completed. The Declaration was written here as well as the Constitution. Interesting factoids: the basement once served as the city's dog pound and the second floor was once the home to Charles Wilson's museum of natural history. Some historians note that Ben Franklin would occasionally trip other delegates from his aisle seat. Ev The days were very hot in the summer of 1776 and whether to open up the windows or close them was a source of contention with the delegates. On the one hand were the flies that invaded Congress from the nearby stables and the need for the proceeding to be kept secret that prevented their being open. On the other hand, it was oppressively hot that summer and the delegates in their heavy brocaded waistcoats and jackets were melting under the heat. Compromise was called for but not often achieved in this matter.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Join and Die?

Hancock: Very well, gentleman, we are about to brave the storm in a skiff made of paper, and how it will end God only knows.
Hopkins: That's a pretty large signature Johnny.
Hancock: So fat George in London can read it without his glasses! All right gentlemen - step right up- and don't miss your chance to commit treason.
Franklin: Hancock's right-this paper is our passport to the gallows. But there's no backing out now- if we don't hang together- we shall most assuredly hang separately. (from the musical 1776)
When the members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence they were committing treason against Britain, according to British law. The punishment for treason was designed to discourage this type of behavior.
First you were drawn - dragged by a horse to your place of execution (sometimes on a hurdle). Then you were hanged by the neck, but not with a sudden drop which would quickly break your neck. You got to suffer slowly... Then, before you were dead, you were cut down, stripped of your clothes, your genitals were cut off, your bowels cut out, and they were burned before your eyes. Your body was then quartered (cut into four parts) and submitted to the king for his just disposal...

Thank You

Thank you to all of those who sent my cast and me good wishes. I'll really appreciate it and I'm sure the students will when I get to tell them on opening night! Best of luck to you all as you finish up your last few weeks of rehearsal! I'm so excited to see the show!!!

-Katie (Jane's daughter)

(mom... sorry I hacked your blog, but you should never give out your password ;) you needed an update anyways. :) love you and see you soon!)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

"I Can Hear The Bells"

Hancock is the first to sign the Declaration. After he signs he says;

"Gentlemen-forgive me if I don't join in the merriment-but if we're arrested now my name is still the only one on the damn thing!"

"Very well, Gentlemen. McNair-go ring the bell."

What do you really know about the Liberty Bell? We know it is cracked, but how? Where is it today? The script says, "The tolling of the Liberty Bell begins." Factual or not?

"The Liberty Bell is a treasured pre-Revolutionary War relic that was first hung on June 7, 1753 in the tower of the newly finished Pennsylvania State House ... the building that would eventually become Independence Hall.

The Liberty Bell was ordered in 1751 and was first cast in London, England. It arrived in Philadelphia in August, 1752 and was cracked "by a stroke of the clapper during a test without any other violence." It was melted down, and a second bell was cast in April 1753, but this one was also defective. A third was cast in June of that year, by Pass and Stowe, "two ingenious workmen" of Philadelphia.
In the re-casting, the English model was broken up and the same metal was used with the addition of one and one-half ounces of American copper to the pound of the old bell metal to make the bell less brittle. The same form and lettering were preserved with the substitution of the names of the founders, the place and year of re-casting.

It weighs over 2,080 pounds (943 kilograms) and is 12 feet (3.7 m) in circumference circumference at the lip. The colonial province of Pennsylvania paid about $300 for it.

It became known as the "Liberty Bell" about 1839, when abolitionists began to refer to it that way. Previously, the bell had been called the "State House Bell."
The inscription on the bell, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," is taken from the Bible (Lev. 25:10).

It was rung on July 8, 1776, with other church bells, after the public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1777, during the American Revolution, British troops occupied Philadelphia. The bell was removed from the tower and hidden in Allentown, Pennsylvania for safekeeping. It was returned to Philadelphia and replaced in Independence Hall in 1778." (

From what musical does the title of this blog come?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Founding Feathers

Thanks to Doak for the title of this entry as well as the question.

"Besides the eagle, the dove, and the turkey, seven kinds of birds are mentioned in 1776. . we're not counting 'gulled' but one of the seven is part of an adjective phrase. five are spoken; two are sung. (And don't include 'eaglet' either, since the adult's already been counted.) What are they?

On another note, here is yesterday's question:

"There is something peculiar about the opening notes of 'He plays the violin'-the notes that accompany the first four words, the words in the title. What is it?"

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ought Someone to Open Up a Window?

More great trivia from the fertile mind of Doak:

Washington's dispatches in the show make many references to the approach of General Howe's forces to New York Harbor. The battle that occurred there after the signing of the Declaration was pretty much a rout, with Washington literally whipping and beating his troops to keep them from running away as fast as they could. The other American general was captured by the British, and then sent to Congress in Philadelphia to invite a committee to New York to discuss reconciliation. Adams vigorously opposed the meeting, but insisted on being part of it anyway because he thought others would botch it.Adams, Franklin, and Rutledge traveled to New York to meet with General Howe--a meeting where all three Congressmen listened to the offer of peace but summarily rejected it. On the way there, however, Adams and Franklin shared a bed at an inn, and fell into an argument about--guess what?--whether or not it was advisable to keep a window open while sleeping. Adams believed that the night air was full of dangerous things that promoted ill health. Franklin on the other hand believed that it was unhealthy to sleep in a closed room with one's soiled clothes. Although they never settled the argument, Franklin got his way, and Adams lay awake for an hour or so dreading a health calamity and listening to the good doctor expound upon his theory of the health benefits of open windows at night.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Spit Not in the Fire

Among the many things written by George Washington is this booklet written before he was 16. 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.

2 When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered
6 Sleep not when others speak; sit not when others stand; speak not when you should hold your peace; walk not on when others stop
10 When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even; without putting one on the other or crossing them.qualities [damaged manuscript] virtue or kindred.
74 When another speaks, be attentive yourself; and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not nor prompt him without desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech has ended
79 Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author always; a secret discover not
90 Being set at meat scratch not, neither spit, cough, or blow your nose except there's a necessity for it.
91 Make no show of taking great delight in your the table; neither find great delight in your victuals; feed not with greediness; eat your bread with a knife; lean not on the table; neither find fault with what you eat.
97 Put not another bite into your mouth till the former be swallow; let not your morsels be too big.
98 Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are a drinking
103 In company of your betters be not [damaged manuscript] than they are; lay not your arm but [damaged manuscript110 Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.