From the Press

Declaration of Independence signed in Spring Lake

By Karen Meister

A “must see” production of the Tony-award winning musical 1776 is currently being performed at The Spring Lake Theatre.

And — if you want to witness history in the making, you won’t want to miss this fantastic rendition of our forefathers’ deliberation from May 8 to July 4, 1776.

The musical, based on the book “1776” by Peter Stone, premiered on Broadway in 1967 and received various awards and accolades from audiences.

It was revived in 1997, and again, it was well received. The concept of history, put in story form, with wonderful music and lyrics, was appealing to a vast numbers of viewers.

Now you have the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful production close to home. Audiences will be pleased with the professionalism of every aspect of this play, produced by Patricia Barry and directed by Timothy Walling, who are well-respected names in local theatre.

The play is based on the events that surround the second Continental Congress process before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which would result in an American revolution from British rule.

You would think this would be an easy process, considering the concept involved and who the originator of the document was, Thomas Jefferson, but it was quite the opposite.

You will witness the feisty John Adams, who is described as obnoxious and disliked by many, trying to persuade his colleagues to vote for independence and his cohort, Benjamin Franklin, trying to calm Adams while supporting the cause.

The music that accompanies the stirring dialogue adds a lighter flair to the proceedings of the Congress, with songs such as “For God’s Sake,” “John Sit Down” and “The Lees of Old Virginia” to name a few that continue throughout the performance. Musical director and pianist, Mary Lough, leads the talented orchestra with exceptional music throughout the production.

The characters add a human dimension to this story that history books are unable to accomplish.

The personalities and idiosyncrasies of each Congressional member are revealed with such precision and realism. John Adams is portrayed by Greg Schweers, who gives the audience a wonderful insight in the colorful second president.

Derek Hulse plays the newlywed Thomas Jefferson, who struggles between missing his wife and writing the document so assigned to his care. Sal Giacchi is the revered Ben Franklin; he looks and acts as one would picture this wise and admired man. One of the opponents of the Declaration was John Dickinson, delegate from Pennsylvania and Jason Tamashausky plays this part so adeptly. Jeff Skalecki is Virginia’s delegate, Richard H. Lee, and Bill Reinhard is the famous John Hancock, who oversees the Congress, tries to maintain order and is the first to sign the famous document.

There are only two female performers in the production. Loretta Boyle portrays the wife of John Adams’ Abigail who misses her husband dearly, and Natalie Auch, who is Jefferson’s newlywed, Martha. Both performers give a stellar performance, as does the remaining cast — too numerous to mention.

The action mainly takes place in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, and the set looks authentic enough so one might feel as an onlooker of this event. Authenticity is also evident with the period costumes, which include the wigs of the era down to the men’s shoe buckles.

The cast, crew, and support staff have done a superior job with presenting a story about such a monumental event that shaped our country’s values and morals. We are so fortunate to be able to witness these historical events, made alive by this production.

Performances for “1776” will continue May 4, 5, 11 and 12.

Curtain is 8 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased at the box office, by calling 732-449-4530 or visiting on-line at