5th Avenue Theatre Parade Hairspray Anything Goes 1776

writing: articles, sales copy, and editing


client: The 5th Avenue Theatre
project: 1776 Articles

When a show is not well-known, it's always wise to focus some attention on its creators. Luckily, 1776 was written by two very remarkable people.


Sherman Edwards (Composer/Lyricist, 1919-1981), once a history teacher, wrote both the lyrics and music for 1776 and was the driving force behind 1969's Best Musical. Although he seemed to appear from out of nowhere, Edwards had serious songwriting credentials. He was a veteran of the Tin Pan Alley industry, from which he received their unique brand of trial-by-fire songwriting experience. He wrote dozens of top-ten songs including Wonderful Wonderful, See You in September, Johnny Get Angry and Broken Hearted Melody, and even some scores for Elvis Presley films. He was also an accomplished pianist and arranger with impressive jazz roots; he worked with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Louis Armstrong. Sadly, 1776 was the only musical ever created by Sherman Edwards. It blended his avid interest in history (he majored in it at New York and Cornell Universities) with his talents as a composer/lyricist. He was rewarded in 1969 with the New York Drama Critics Award and the Tony Awards for Best Musical, and Best Music and Lyrics. Mr. Edwards passed away in 1981.

For his work on 1776, Peter Stone (Book Writer) has been credited with creating the most impeccably constructed, flawlessly proportioned book for a musical every written, a feat of balanced and engaging storytelling. His long career has been highly-decorated — he is the only writer to ever win a Tony, Oscar and an Emmy. Stone did most of his early writing for TV and film; 1776 established him on Broadway. The show won both the Tony and NY Drama Critics Circle Awards, as would his later show The Will Rogers Follies. He also won Best Musical Tonys for Titanic and Woman of the Year, and received acclaim for his work on My One and Only, Sugar, Two by Two, the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun and the play Full Circle. He wrote more than two dozen feature films, including the Oscar-winning Father Goose, Edgar-winning (Mystery Writers of America Award) Charade and Christopher Award-winning 1776. Writing for TV, he won the Emmy Award for an episode of the acclaimed CBS series The Defenders.