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Signal Ensemble Presents '1776' at Chopin Theatre; Begins 1/25

Signal Ensemble Theatre culminates its fifth season, comprised of 20th-century American works, with 1776, the Tony Award-winning musical by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone. Directed by Ronan Marra with musical direction by Andra Velis Simon and featuring a 26-member award-winning ensemble, the production runs January 25 through March 1, 2008 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Opening night is Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 7PM.

Set during a "hot as hell" summer in Philadelphia, 1776 is the Tony Award-winning musical about the seminal act in American history: the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Sectional differences, pride and fear threaten the Declaration and the fledgling nation. The score features hits such as "Sit Down, John," "He Plays the Violin" and "Momma Look Sharp."

Ensemble member Philip Winston as John Adams leads a 26-strong that includes ensemble members Vincent L. Lonergan (Benjamin Franklin) and Joseph Stearns (Richard Henry Lee), with Larry Baldacci (John Hancock), Kevin Bishop (Robert Livingston), John Blick (Dr. Josiah Bartlett), Scott Danielson (Col. Thomas McKean), Matthew Erickson (Charles Thompson), Dan Granata (Andrew McNair), Ryan Guhde (George Read), Michael Herschberg (Joseph Hewes), Ted Hoerl (Stephen Hopkins), Tim Howard (Thomas Jefferson), Andrew Lambertson (Dr. Lyman Hall), Eric Lindhal (Courier), Paul G. Miller (James Wilson), Lindsay Naas (Martha Jefferson), Colby Sellers (Rev. John Witherspoon), Thomas M. Shea (Samuel Chase), Anne Sheridan Smith (Abigail Adams), Eric Smith (Lewis Morris), Jon Steinhagen (John Dickinson), Danny Taylor (Roger Sherman), Jeremy Trager (Edward Rutledge), Steve Welsh (Caesar Rodney) and Matt Whalen (Leather Apron/Painter).

Directed by ensemble member Ronan Marra with musical direction by Andra Velis Simon and choreography by Danny Taylor, 1776 features scenic design by Melania Lancy (Jeff nomination, The Weir), costume design by Laura M. Dana (Jeff Citation and After Dark awards, Seascape), lighting design by Julie E. Ballard and PJ Johnston, sound design by ensemble member Anthony Ingram, wig design by Ora Jewell-Busche and properties design by Noel Henke. Ensemble member Stephanie Ehemann is the production stage manager and Kristen Barrett is the assistant stage manager.

Previews are January 25 and 26, 2008 at 8 p.m. The opening press performance is January 27, 2008 at 7 p.m. The production continues through March 1, 2008 with the following schedule: Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 for preview performances; $20 for Thursdays and Sundays; and $25 for Fridays and Saturdays. Discounts for students, seniors and groups are available. Tickets may be purchased online at or reserved at 773-347-1350.

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