1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (musical)

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (Musical)

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1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (musical)

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1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a 1976 musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. It is considered to be a legendary Broadway flop, running only seven performances. It was Bernstein's last original score for Broadway.

Original Broadway production

The musical opened on May 4, 1976 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and closed on May 8, 1976 after 7 performances and 13 previews. It was co-directed and co-choreographed by Gilbert Moses and George Faison.

The musical examined the establishment of the White House and its occupants from 1800 to 1900. Primarily focusing on race relations, the story depicted (among other incidents) Thomas Jefferson's then-alleged affair with a black maid, James Monroe's refusal to halt slavery in Washington, the aftermath of the American Civil War and Andrew Johnson's impeachment. Throughout the show, the leading actors performed multiple roles: Ken Howard played all the presidents, Patricia Routledge all the First Ladies, and Gilbert Price and Emily Yancy played the White House servants, Lud and Seena. Future Broadway stars Reid Shelton, Walter Charles, Beth Fowler and Richard Muenz appeared in ensemble roles, as did the young African American baritone Bruce Hubbard.

The show was originally intended to be performed as a play-within-a-play, with the show's actors stepping out of character to comment on the plot and debate race relations from a modern standpoint. But this concept was almost entirely removed during the...
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