About 1787


We Wrote the Constitution
– not “a bunch of old dead guys” –

 new musical theatre work, revised version since the 2011 premiere

With music styles from operetta to barbershop, from gospel to rock-and-roll, 1787 the Musical – We Wrote the Constitution blends beautiful ballads, catchy up-tunes, and memorable characters. The entertaining story, from non-partisan perspective, follows the framing of the Constitution – with Madison, Franklin, Hamilton, Washington, and others, including their wives and Washington’s slave.

With a generous sprinkling of humor, this honest, evocative, and timeless portrayal reveals delegates’ interests during the original 1787 Convention as they recognize their limitations and argue to find compromise in the conflicts at the time, while – above all else – safeguarding their hard-won freedom for later generations. Into the mix are a few poignant scenes – one of them with a perfectly-placed show-stopper sung by Washington’s slave about representation, “Three-Fifths of a Man.”

The premiere production finale had the audience in a standing ovation every night before the end!

The audience will enjoy this non-partisan, feel-good, patriotic celebration in the genre of classic American Musical Theatre.

photo by Kevin McGuire

photo by Kevin McGuire

In 1993 Robert Picklesimer’s participation in a local production of 1776 prompted him to consider that a musical about the writing of the Constitution of the United States might have merit. In 1999 he discovered – in Catherine Drinker Bowen’s book, Miracle at Philadelphia – several ideas for the story. He continued his study of the history and development of the script, and later, in search of a collaborator, he found composer Lucinda Lawrence at the University of Illinois in 2005.

In 2009, the University of Illinois Opera Studio performed a semi-staged concert of 10 of the songs, with brief narration providing the story. Many readings, cuts, and edits later, the full premiere of this amusing and poignant musical was produced mid-summer, 2011, at the historic Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois, produced by the local theatre company The Creative Dramatics Workshop.