Blog Archives

Why the Rich are Different from You and Me…

From The Smirking Chimp:

Benjamin Franklin, who used his many talents to become a wealthy man, famously said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. But if you’re a corporate CEO in America today, even they can be put on the back burner – death held at bay by the best medical care money can buy and the latest in surgical and life extension techniques, taxes conveniently shunted aside courtesy of loopholes, overseas investment and governments that conveniently look the other way.

– Bill Moyers

Read the whole article HERE


Happy Birthday Ben…

Ben Franklin, was born on this day in 1706.

Did you know when the famous Founding Fathers were selecting a National Bird and the majority were hard set on the Eagle, Franklin made his case for the Turkey:

(another great graphic design by the late Herb Lubalin.)

1776 – Best Community Theater Production I’ve Seen In Years…

Elly, Mike and Ruth Robertas and I went to the Apollo Civic Theater in Martinsburg last night to see their production of 1776, the musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I have to admit, it was the closest thing to a professional production I have seen in Community Theater – amateurs with talent enough to make us forget their amateurity.

The story, of course, is based on the second Continental Congress and the campaign of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin to get a unanimous declaration from all 13 colonies to enter into a revolution against King George’s England.

The lead character of these three is the “obnoxious and disliked” Adams, who drives his concern to free the colonies with such fervor that the phrase “Sit down John, sit down” is repeated over and over by the body of representatives.

Franklin is his sidekick, so to speak, and fills his commentary with phrases from his Almanacks and clever concepts to get non-revolutionary representatives – like the rest of his Pennsylvania delegation – to the Adams side of the cause.

Director Tami McDonald has thoroughly researched the history of the Congress (aided by The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, who received an award of a percentage of the gate for their assistance.) This is her second production in 10 years of 1776 and she has maintained a tight and completely thought out production. with Music Director Alison Shafer and Choreographer  Christine Galante, McDonald keeps a very large cast of 24 men and two women moving a complex story through a month of meetings in the summer Philadelphia heat to the unanimous signing of Jefferson’s drafted and group edited Declaration.

The show has a matinee today and another weekend to run. The 500 seat Apollo usually has open spaces for last minute audience reservations. Call (304) 263-6766 and if no one is in the box office someone will get back to you withing a few hours. Honest.

Make that call and join the ecstatic standing ovation that greets the curtain call of 1776.

Cast and Crew

Dr. Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire – Ron Rockwell

John Adams of Massachusetts – David Keye

John Hancock of Massachusetts – Bob Wade

Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island  – Byron Simpson

Roger Sherman of Connecticut – Lou Ramos

Robert Livingston of New York – Michael Noll

Lewis Morris of New York – Boomer Rose

Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon of New Jersey – Dan Rice

John Dickinson of Pennsylvania – Tod Williams

Ben Franklin of Pennsylvania – Mike Reed

Judge Joseph Wilson of Pennsylvania – Pere Herlinger

Col. Thomas McKean of Delaware – Jim Carter

George Read of Delaware –  Joe Hall

Caesar Rodney of Delaware  – Tom Hutchcraft

Samuel Chase of Maryland –  Blake Butler

Thomas Jefferson of Virginia – J. D. Wine

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia – Ken McDonald, Jr.

Joseph Hewes of North Carolina – Ken Kulp

Edward Rutledge of South Carolina –  Ross S. Hudson

Dr. Lyman Hall of Georgia – Joey Thorne

Charles Thomson, Congressional Secretary – Eric Nauman

Abigail Adams – Amanda Laurie

Martha Jefferson – Emily Santy

 Andrew McNair, Congressional Custodian – Todd Apple

Leather Apron, Custodial Assistant      Alex Hale

Courier – Andre Brown


Producer/Director – Tami McDonald

Music Director – Alison Shafer

Choreographer – Christine Galante

Stage Manager – Terri Magers

Combat Choreographer – Rick Herlinger

Set Designer/Foreman –  Tom Ballard

Set Construction –  Ann Alter, Henry   Becker, Jim Carter, Glenn Goulet, Joe Hall, Larry Mayou, Mike Reed, Stephanie Reed, Ron Rockwell, Lou Ramos, Joey Thorne, Bob Wade

Set Furniture Construction – Bob Fuegi

Ben Franklin Portrait – Lou Ramos

Light Designer –  Michael Noll

Lightboard Operator  – Heather Magers

Sound Operator – Bill Czyzewski

Costume Mistress – Kathy Bost

Properties Master – Jim Carter

Properties Assistant – Joanne Kulp

Hair Stylist – Sue Dyke