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1776 curtain rises today

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By The Staff

TELL CITY - After a year's absence, Schweizer Fest Inc. is again offering theatrical entertainment to Tell City. In honor of the historical significance of the city's sesquicentennial, this year's production is 1776, the story of our founding fathers' efforts in the Continental Congress, set to a musical theme.

This year's presentations will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. A Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m. All performances will take place at the Tell City High School Auditorium

Theater attendees will notice a big difference from musicals previously presented by Schweizer Fest. There are no young children and only two females in the cast. There are 25 men from Perry and Spencer counties working feverishly to give outstanding performances to all ticket holders.

1776 covers the period before and including the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Fans will see the struggles with heat, horseflies, and over-zealous representatives, along with never-ending committees of the Congress. Dispatches from the front are not electronically transmitted; rather, they must be delivered on horseback by a courier. Communications are difficult as are family relationships, as the men are away from home for months at a time with only letters to keep them in touch.

It is truly a testament to our founding fathers how they were able to come together from many varied backgrounds to accomplish something that had never before been accomplished: breaking away from the parent country. While being entertaining, 1776 is also a timely reminder of the history of our country.

Most of the music will be unfamiliar to the public, but it is some of the best written for the theater, Director Bob Godthaab said. The rousing first number "Sit Down John" will immediately peak interest in the congress. "Momma Look Sharp" will have many theater attendees crying by the end of the song, and the hauntingly disturbing "Molasses to Rum" may have everyone remembering the darker side of our early history.

Jay Brewer portrays the obnoxious John Adams, whose vision will absolutely not let independence die. Ron Etienne, a newcomer to the stage, fills the role of Benjamin Franklin, who uses his intelligence and personality to win people to his side of thinking.

Alan Kessler portrays John Hancock, the man responsible for keeping the Congress on task, as much as possible. Sheila Ferguson plays the role of Abigail Adams, who is seen on stage, but communicates only through letters with her husband. Thomas Jefferson, the Virginian who writes the Declaration of Independence is portrayed by James Rash, and Susan Ewing portrays his wife, Martha Jefferson.

Other major players include: Shawn Eads as Richard Henry Lee, Greg DuPont as John Dickinson, Gene Ress as Charles Thomson and Joe LeClere as James Wilson.

Godthaab is once again directing this year's musical, with Joan Hess serving as his assistant. Jane Upmeyer is the pianist and Mickey Fischer is the choreographer. Sam Schaefer has once again designed the sets which are being built under the direction of Paul Ramsey. Elaine Seibert is the costume mistress and Sharilyn Franzman is the props mistress.

Tickets can be purchased from any cast or crew member or by calling 547-7563 or 547-6156. Prices are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. All seats are reserved, so purchase tickets now for the best seats.