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"1776" A Backstage Story (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

A connection to a cast member, with a connection to her role.

THE INSIDE STORY OF A SISTER ACT

The Fine Arts Center Theatre Company's production of "1776" runs May 13th through June 5th.

There will only be two women in the cast when the musical "1776" opens....on the stage at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.  It's the story of the second Continental Congress deciding to write and sign the Declaration of Independence...so it's mostly men. 

There are a couple of wives woven into the story.  Martha Jefferson is played by Halee Towne and Abigail Adams is played by Jen Lennon.  They are both wonderful actresses and singers.  Here's Jen with Cory Moosman who plays John Adams.

Jen Lennon also happens to be my younger sister.  (She'll be pleased that I mentioned the younger part.)

She has a long history as a performer.  I can remember watching her in shows when she was in elementary school.  She also claims that I kind of got her started in all of this when I talked her into auditioning for a production of "Oliver"  We were both in it....on that same stage at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center!  

That was in 1980.  I was about 14 and Jen was in the single digits. (She'll be pleased that I mentioned that too)

She has always found ways to incorporate musical performance with education.  She has a BS in performance studies from Northwestern University, and a Masters in Education. She teaches music at the da Vinci Academy.  She's spent a lot of time as the drama coach and choreographer for the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale.  She even directs some shows at the school her kids attend. 

Back in 1987 when she was a sophomore at Doherty High School Jen was part of a competition called National History Day. The theme that year was  “Liberty: Rights and Responsibilities”  Her category was Individual Performance.

Jen created a 10 minute monologue, a performance in character. It was done in her own words but it was based on her research into historical documents. 

I mentioned before that she's a great performer.  She was then too.  Jen won the regional History Day competition.  She was named one of the top two in the State of Colorado.  She even went on to the national competition at the University of Maryland!  Jen wanted her piece to be about a strong and influential figure in U.S history.  She wanted it to be a woman she admired. 

Back in 1987 Jen chose to play the role of, you guessed it.....Abigail Adams. 

It worked then.  I think it'll work this time too, starting Friday on that stage at the Fine Arts Center.

Here's a link for ticket information.

 https://tickets.csfineartscenter.org/public/

Here's some rehearsal video shot by the Fine Arts Center.  Halee sings briefly at 1:14.  Jen sings briefly at 3:14.  The whole cast (mostly men) sounds really good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C0SVsv7Xa4

I'll see the show this weekend and blog about it on Sunday.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward

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