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The Story of America- A Very Broadway History Lesson

Happy 244th birthday, America! On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies officially declared independence from Great Britain, forming a brand new nation, which today celebrates over two centuries of freedom and democracy. In that time, our country has been through war and peace, prosperity and poverty, progress and stagnation.

On this most special of days to be an American, we're giving you a crash course on the story of our nation, the only way we know how... through musical theatre.


1776:

The frustrated John Adams argues over the issue of independency with the piddling, twiddling Second Continental Congress. With the help of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, a declaration is eventually signed, fanning the flames of revolution and giving the Continental Army something to fight for.

Note: The second Broadway revival is due to arrive in 2021!


Hamilton:

While America is at war with Great Britain, a young immigrant works his way to the top, aiding General George Washington and eventually finding a place in his cabinet. As the young nation takes its first steps, Alexander Hamilton is instrumental in creating the founding principals and systems of our new government.

Note: You can watch the full musical today on Disney+!


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson:

Populism is all the rage as the seventh President, Andrew Jackson, vows to stand up for the rights of the common man. As the founder of the Democratic party, Jackson uses cowboy-like tactics to consolidate executive power, and eventually forces thousands of Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River.


The Civil War:

Almost a century after America was founded on the principal that all men are created equal, the South still refuses to end slavery. After the election of President Abraham Lincoln, the issue of states rights erupts when seven states declare secession to form the Confederate States of America. Brother is pinned against brother in a war that rages for four years, resulting in the eventual abolition of slavery and the loss of more Americans lives than in any other war.


Showboat:

Reconstruction in the South has resulted in racial segregation and Jim Crow laws that effect even the show folk on the Cotton Blossom. Over a span of forty years, three generations travel the (Ol' Man) Mississippi and battle with America's still-enduring issues with racial prejudice and miscegenation, and deal with the tragedy of enduring love.


Ragtime:

At the turn of the century, the American Dream means different things to three distinct groups in New York City. Upper-crust suburbanites of New Rochelle cling to the security of tradition, while African Americans yearn for a chance at equality, and immigrants take a gamble on a better life in a foreign land. Together with many historical figures that shaped the age, they discover the limitations of justice and the consequences of dreams deferred.


Parade:

Decades after the close of the Civil War, a Jewish man from Brooklyn is wrongfully accused of raping and murdering a young girl in Atlanta. The case, which gains national attention, arouses anti-semitic tensions in the South and eventually triggers the revival of the defunct KKK and gives birth to the Jewish Civil Rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League.


Bonnie & Clyde:

The Great Depression has taken its toll on West Texas, and like many other Americans, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow dream of a way out of their dust-covered, poverty-stricken lives. They begin a life of crime on the run and their exploits capture the attention of the American public, cementing their notoriety for generations to come.


Bandstand:

Over 400,000 American soldiers lose their lives in World War II. The men lucky enough to return at the war's end struggle to fit back into their old lives, deal with the grief of devastating loss, and cope with post-traumatic stress and survivor's guilt. For a group of veterans from Cleveland, a new home is found in the music they create together.


Assassins:

A group of misfits from America's past, feeling betrayed by the democracy they trusted and the leaders who failed to uphold it, tell the disturbing tales of their attempted/actual regicide. The group eventually converges on a warehouse in Dallas, Texas to convince Lee Harvey Oswald of his 'right' to connect.


Hair:

The Age of Aquarius has arrived and the hippie counterculture takes center stage in the anti-Vientnam War peace movement. A tribe of politically-charged bohemians in New York City spreads the message of peace and love to a conservative, older generation, and ultimately must make a decision to stick to their principals and resist the draft, or compromise their beliefs and risk their lives fighting in a war they don't believe in.


American Idiot:

Three friends living in a post-9/11 world attempt to escape their mind-numbing lives in suburbia and find a sense of meaning in the outside world. In their search for a balance between rage and love, their paths split when Tunny joins the military, Will returns home to his pregnant girlfriend, and Johnny gets swept away in the pleasures and dangers of the big city.


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