Katherine Mangu-Ward on 1776, the Musical


1776 debuted on Broadway in 1969, just as Richard Nixon was taking up residence in the White House. The show won a Tony for Best Musical that year, beating out the naked hippie romp Hair, despite two astonishing facts: 1) there is a 30-minute stretch in the first act where no one sings a note, and 2) it is a musical about the Declaration of Independence.

Now 1776 is back on tour, and as Katherine Mangu-Ward observes, it still remains to be seen if the show's original success can be duplicated in the post-Watergate era.