1776/Characters

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John Adams (William Daniels)[edit | hide | hide all]

Our Hero, so to speak. A Boston revolutionary who really hates shutting up, Adams' abrasive nature belies his good intentions and brilliant mind.

Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard)[edit | hide]

Adams wants him to write the Declaration. Jefferson, however, has much more important things on his mind - namely, his wife.

Abigail Adams (Virginia Vestoff)[edit | hide]

Our Hero's sensible, level-headed wife. Also wants pins - the sewing kind.

John Dickinson (Donald Madden)[edit | hide]

Our Antagonist, so to speak. A Philadelphia gentleman, Dickinson revels in being cool and conservative. The only man in Congress able to match wits with Adams. Dead-set against Independence, but "regards America no less than does Mr Adams." Proves it.

Edward Rutledge (John Cullum)[edit | hide]

A Southern plantation owner from South Carolina. Gives possibly the most epic What the Hell, Hero? known to musical theatre in the form of "Molasses to Rum." The youngest man in Congress - except for Ben Franklin.

Richard Henry Lee (Ron Holgate)[edit | hide]

A Large Ham of epic proportions. Performs this role magnificent-Lee.

John Hancock[edit | hide]

The long-suffering president of Congress. Too hot - literally. Philadelphia is baking in the summer.

Caesar Rodney[edit | hide]

Delegate from Delaware. Staunch defender of independence.

  • Badass Grandpa: rode 80 miles overnight to cast the deciding vote for Delaware while suffering from debilitating cancer

Judge James Wilson[edit | hide]

Dickinson's toady. Continuously forgets that Pennsylvania cannot second its own motion.

  • History Marches On: when the play was written, it was considered as good an interpretation of the historical record as any. Then new sources became available, and it turns out Wilson was probably hedging his bets the same way Lyman Hall was.
  • Yes-Man: To Dickinson, but see History Marches On.

Dr. Lyman Hall[edit | hide]

New delegate from Georgia.

  • Chekhov's Gunman: he seems to be just a vehicle to introduce the other main characters. He's not.
  • Naive Newcomer: he expects the Congress to be more impressive than it actually is.

Col. Thomas McKean[edit | hide]

A loud Scotsman. Also from Delaware. His loud voice belies his soft heart.

George Read[edit | hide]

Joseph Hewes[edit | hide]

Josiah Bartlett[edit | hide]

Rev. James Witherspoon[edit | hide]

Stephen Hopkins[edit | hide]

The oldest man in Congress -- except for Ben Franklin.

Charles Thomson[edit | hide]

Samuel Chase[edit | hide]

Roger Sherman[edit | hide]

Lewis Morris[edit | hide]

  • Catch Phrase: "New York abstains courteously!"
  • It's Personal: After his home gets destroyed by British troops and his sons enlists in the Continental Army, he supports the independence movement regardless of New York's wishes.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong - Well, more like his state, but states were considered similar to countries at the time anyway; he abstains from voting because New York didn't actually give him instructions on whether or not to vote for independence.

Robert Livingston[edit | hide]

The Courier[edit | hide]

  • No Name Given
  • Bearer of Bad News: seeing as how he's always carrying distraught messages from George Washington.
  • One-Scene Wonder: he walks in and out a few times but has no dialogue. Then, in comes 'Mama, Look Sharp' and he's one of the most remembered charecters in the play.

MacNair[edit | hide]

Martha Jefferson (Blythe Danner)[edit | hide]