IF YOU GO:
What: “1776” stage musical
Where: Bellevue Little Theatre, 203 W. Mission Ave., Bellevue
When: Friday through Sept. 30; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: $18 adults, $15 senior citizens, $9 students
If there's one thing the musical “1776” is known for, it's that booming male chorus of 24 voices — all the delegates to the Continental Congress deciding whether to ratify the Declaration of Independence.
So it's worth noting that all of those guys in the Bellevue Little Theatre's “1776” cast answer to director D. Laureen Pickle, music director Kay Clark, producer Sandy Thompson and stage manager Robin Klusmire — all women.
Pickle said there have been no raised eyebrows over the labor-management gender split.
“The guys are a whole lot of fun, but they're very respectful,” Pickle said. “It's nice to be taken seriously as a director. Some of them call me Coach. If I were hesitant or acted weak, somebody might try to take advantage. But any director who comes in with a plan, there's no question of leadership.”
Clark agreed that gender has simply not been an issue.
“A few years ago this might have been a novelty, but not now,” said Clark, who has not music-directed a show in about a decade but loves doing this one a second time at Bellevue. Her four-piece pit group of musicians is also all-female.
Thompson said leadership roles for women have increasingly become common in community theater. She herself became board president of the theater soon after she became active there.
“I didn't think of it as an honor,” she said. “It's just that they thought I could get the work done.”
Klusmire was a stage manager when Pickle directed “Oliver” at Bellevue a couple seasons ago. Clark and Thompson had also worked together in the past, including for a 1996 production of “1776” at the theater.
John LaPuzza as John Adams, and Curtis Leach as Benjamin Franklin are repeating the roles they played in 1996. A father and son, Don and Sam Reimer, are also in the cast.
Thompson said the show was deliberately chosen for an election year. Pickle said it's proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
“A lot of what they argued about back then, we still argue about,” she said.
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