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‘1776’ in 2022: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Dual Reality

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How do you solve a problem like America? For the creators of the musical “1776,” the answer was to wrap it in jaunty tunes, 18th-century double entendres and enough twisty dialogue to make a dramatization of the debate over the Declaration of Independence feel like a thriller.

Premiering on Broadway in 1969, the musical ran for 1,217 performances, won the Tony Award for best musical and, over the last 50-plus years, has left more than a few critics scratching their heads over how such a resolutely square show won over Vietnam-era America.

But 1776 isn’t what it used to be. In 2022, a touchstone of national identity has become a culture-war hot potato. And “1776,” which arrives this month on Broadway in a new revival for Roundabout Theater Company, isn’t the same either.

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