With an ensemble of local actors, the musical takes the audience into the lives of the very men who drafted the historical Declaration of Independence.
Included in that roster is Decatur attorney Robert Wayne, who plays Benjamin Franklin.
Wayne, a Decatur native, has practiced law for 30 years, but has been interested in theater for even longer. Having gotten the acting and singing bug as a child, he graduated with a degree in musical theater from the University of Georgia. He then earned his law degree from the same institution.
Even with his busy schedule, Wayne still manages to perform in about four shows a year, sometimes even taking a hiatus from work to perform.
“Since law school I’ve balanced back and forth with musical theater and law,” he said. “I’ve taken a hiatus to go to New York for six months or a month to do a tour … I basically do stuff on evenings and weekends.”
Wayne said he fell in love with “1776” years ago, especially the dialogue and the way the musical tells the struggle of the men from different backgrounds who come together with an idea of freedom.
“To express their idea of freedom … it’s interesting to see how their personalities worked out and you get to see 13 very different colonies,” said Wayne. “Today in politics compromise is considered a dirty word, but by hard fought compromises we were able to become a nation in the first place.”
Rounding out the cast include Midtown corporate and private events planner Don Smith as Thomas Jefferson, David Parlier, a retired Atlanta Public Schools science teacher from Sandy Springs playing John Adams, retired Atlanta actor Stuart Culpepper, Lilburn accountant Andy Hoeckele, Delta Air Lines executive David Azzarello of Buckhead, Joe Lowery, and AT&T telecom manager from Clarkston, and Buckhead dermatologist Hal Brody, producer of the show.
Wayne commented that the well-rounded cast features men who come from varied backgrounds and who also have plenty of theater experience in the Atlanta are.
Producer Brody said the play is patriotism as its best.
“1776’ is in a special category,” he said. “It’s an inspiring educational experience for the whole family told through humor, drama and delightful music accurately capturing the personalities of our founding fathers struggling with issues of the day.”
If you go
When: Sept. 14 through Oct. 7
Where: Dorsey Studios Theatre, 3593 Clairmont Road
Tickets: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and children under 12
Information: visit www.1776themusicalatlanta.com.