The Broadway revival of 1776 hosted a special audience guest this weekend when Shannon LaNier attended the production and took photos with the cast. LaNier is a 9th-generation direct descendant of President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman owned by Jefferson who bore six of his children.
LaNier is a news anchor for Cheddar TV, a live streaming financial network, and author of the book Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family, a chronicle of his own journey across the country meeting relatives from both sides of the family.
The company, composed entirely of female, trans, and nonbinary identifying performers, features Gisela Adisa as Robert Livingston, Nancy Anderson as George Read, Becca Ayers as Col. Thomas McKean, Tiffani Barbour as Andrew McNair, Carolee Carmello as John Dickinson, Allyson Kaye Daniel as Abigail Adams/Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon, Elizabeth A. Davis as Thomas Jefferson, Mehry Eslaminia as Charles Thomson, Joanna Glushak as Stephen Hopkins, Shawna Hamic as Richard Henry Lee, Eryn LeCroy as Martha Jefferson/Dr. Lyman Hall, Kristolyn Lloyd as John Adams (succeeding Crystal Lucas-Perry), Liz Mikel as John Hancock, Patrena Murray as Benjamin Franklin, Oneika Phillips as Joseph Hewes, Lulu Picart as Samuel Chase, Sara Porkalob as Edward Rutledge, Sushma Saha as Judge James Wilson, Brooke Simpson as Roger Sherman, Salome B. Smith as Courier, Sav Souza as Dr. Josiah Bartlett, Jill Vallery as Caesar Rodney, and Shelby Acosta, Ariella Serur, Grace Stockdale, Dawn L. Troupe, and Imani Pearl Williams as standbys.
Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus co-direct the Sherman Edwards-Peter Stone musical about the founding fathers on the brink of signing the Declaration of Independence. The Roundabout Theatre Company and American Repertory Theater co-production is now running at the American Airlines Theatre.