Theater News

1776 Will Return to New York With City Center Encores!

The award-winning musical favorite is part of the 2015-16 New York City Center Encores! season.

Original 1969 Broadway cast members if 1776 (l to r): Rex Everhart, Ken Howard, William Daniels, and Clifford David.
Original 1969 Broadway cast members of the musical 1776 (clockwise, from left): Rex Everhart, Ken Howard, William Daniels, and Clifford David.

The 2016 season of New York City Center’s Encores! series will open with Cabin in the Sky, running from February 10-14, 2016, followed by 1776 and Do I Hear a Waltz? Jack Viertel is the artistic director of Encores!; Rob Berman serves as music director.

Cabin in the Sky tells the fable story of a battle between the Lord’s General and the Devil’s only son over the soul of a charming ne’er-do-well named “Little Joe” Jackson who, after a knife fight in a saloon, is given six months more on earth to prove his worth. With Cabin in the Sky, composer Vernon Duke, lyricist John La Touche, and librettist Lynn Root set out to celebrate African-American achievement in music and dance, and created a wonderfully integrated score that blends hits like “Taking a Chance on Love” with authentic traditional gospel numbers and full-fledged modern dance pieces. The show opened on October 25, 1940, at the Martin Beck Theatre in a production staged and choreographed by George Balanchine and ran 156 performances.

The score of Cabin in the Sky will be restored to its original glory at Encores!, thanks to the generous support of the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Broadway Musical Restoration Fund.

1776 is set in the halls of Congress, as the founding fathers battle out the question of independence and draft the declaration that will sever their ties to England and give birth to a new nation. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and their cohorts argue and grandstand through speeches and songs such as “Sit Down, John,” “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men,” and “He Plays the Violin.” 1776 features music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone. The original production opened on March 16, 1969, at the 46th Street Theatre and played for 1,217 performances, winning the Tony for Best Musical.

1776 is a show we’ve long contemplated doing, but wanted to wait a sufficient amount of time after its successful 1997 revival,” said Jack Viertel. “This season, with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton opening on Broadway and dealing with many of the same story elements in a completely different way, we felt it would be an especially enjoyable moment to look at this wonderful show. It may also start a few conversations, which, in the theater, we always hope to do.” 1776 will run from March 30-April 3, 2016.

Do I Hear a Waltz? marks the only collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim. Based on Arthur Laurents’ play The Time of the Cuckoo, Do I Hear a Waltz? is the romantic tale of a middle-class American woman who uses her meager savings for a long-dreamed-of trip to Venice, where she finds love, life, and her truest self. The musical features music by Rodgers, lyrics by Sondheim, and a book by Laurents. It opened on March 18, 1965, at the 46th Street Theatre and ran 220 performances.

Do I Hear a Waltz? is perhaps the most infrequently produced of Sondheim’s works; it has not been seen in New York since its original Broadway run. Do I Hear a Waltz? will run from May 11-15, 2016.

Casting and ticketing information will be available at a later date.