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Feinstein’s 54 Below Presents "54 Sings '1776'" for the Fourth of July
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Feinstein’s 54 Below Presents "54 Sings '1776'" for the Fourth of July

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner: Special Events
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Feinstein’s 54 Below
Broadway’s Supper Club

54 Sings 1776
Music & Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone

Kyle Scatliffe, Michael McCorry Rose
Wade McCollum, Kyle Timson, Ryan Vona
Sam Hartley, Michael Hull, Ben Biggers
Jordan Jacobs, Nathan Goodrich, Alex Prakken
Carrie St. Louis, Kim McClay

Director: Matt Redmond
Musical Director & Piano: Geraldine Anello
Drums & Percussion: Russ Nyberg
Violin: Kiku Enomoto
Trombone: Andrea Newman

Feinstein’s 54 Below
254 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 3, 2017

Read about 1776, the Broadway Show.

What a delightful musical interlude in the midst of the Fourth of July holiday, a reading-singing of tunes from the 1969, Sherman Edwards-Peter Stone Broadway show, 1776. Feinstein’s 54 Below was packed for this first set of a two-night gig, directed by Matt Redmond, with an ensemble of gorgeously tonal vocalists, mostly men, as this show is about the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence in that infamous year in Philadelphia, 1776. The band, under the direction of pianist, Geraldine Anello, included drums, percussion, violin, and trombone, keeping the vocals front and center. Kyle Scatliffe, a very charismatic John Adams of Massachusetts, who was not the most popular delegate in the Second Continental Congress, led this one-act special event, with deeply charged tones and dramatic gestures. The first song, “Sit Down, John”, follows Adams’ complaints about a lackadaisical, time-wasting Congress, in shades of current news. The audience, seated in the lovely red-gold dining room, cheered this song immediately. Mr. Scatliffe’s “Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve” makes his feelings about his colleagues biting and brisk. Soon Carrie St. John, as John’s wife, Abigail Adams, sings in her eloquent spotlight, “Till Then”, accompanied by Mr. Scatliffe. At times, the vocalist stands near the dinner tables with a microphone, harmonizing with an onstage character in the bi-level duet.

Additional songs from both Act I and Act II included, among many: “The Lees of Old Virginia”, sung by Ryan Vona, as Richard Henry Lee, Kyle Timson, as Benjamin Franklin, and Mr. Scatliffe as Adams, as Lee implores his colleagues to let him be the man who proposes the resolution for American independence, as his family has such stature; “He Plays the Violin”, sung by Kim McClay, as Martha Jefferson, with Mr. Timson and Mr. Scatliffe as Franklin and Adams, as Martha explains what drew her to such a quiet man, Thomas, after she’s recruited to reunite with her yearning husband, so he can focus on his writing of the draft; and “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men”, led by Wade McCollum, as John Dickinson from Pennsylvania, an engaging song for the conservative delegate characters, including vocalists Michael McCorry Rose, Mr. Timson, Mr. Vona, Sam Hartley, Michael Hull, Ben Biggers, Jordan Jacobs, and Nathan Goodrich. Such songs for a large male ensemble resounded throughout the club with the fervent, pulsating musicality of the band.

The most poignant moment of this program occurred in the song, “Mama, Look Sharp”, sung by Alex Prakken, as the Courier, with Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Goodrich as dying soldiers, as the Courier relates a day in the battle of Lexington, when two of his friends died, as one mother looked on the battlefield for her son. This trio, in soft luminous vocals, was joined by a muffled drum roll. I hope this timeless show, ironically more and more relevant as decades pass, can be revived once again on a big (or small) New York stage. Tonight’s cast not only sang with enthusiasm and passion in the lyrics, but each vocalist, for a time, assumed the role of his/her character. I will say that the audience loved this show, even though much of its general dialogue was absent, to fit into the one-hour seating. This show works perfectly for a dinner theatre crowd and would be quite in demand, shown in its entirety sometime, as a special event. Feinstein’s 54 Below maximized the political satire and historical content of 1776 for the Fourth of July holiday. Kudos to all.

The Cast and Band of "54 Sings 1776"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

The Cast and Band of "54 Sings 1776"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

The Cast and Band of "54 Sings 1776"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at