Casting

1787-type-NAVY

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

 new musical theatre work, revised version since the 2011 premiere

Large cast, mostly male. See below for minimum cast, chart of vocal ranges and voice “parts” for main roles, dance requirements, and additional casting/characterization notes per role.

photo by Kevin McGuire

photo by Kevin McGuire

PDFs will open in new tabs:

1787 Characters pp i-ii (PDF)
casting notes of 1787 Script Appendix 1 pp 127-129 (PDF)

1787 vocal ranges (PDF)

1787 Vocal Selections  (PDF)

Songs Singers/Dancers charts & descriptions (PDF)

See also relevant historical biographies and other resources at teachingamericanhistory.org

Minimum players: 25 delegates + 2 Jackson roles + 5 female roles. Henry and all Shays supporters except Pitcher are planned as double-cast. Females may be added to provide choral balance of Company choruses. Low-voiced females may be cast in male roles if played believably as male. It also is possible to replace Jacob Good’s lines and role with the role of Jackson, the Slave, though Good is written as a separate character.

DELEGATES by state, with age and sub-groups: Young Lions, Old Patriots, and Grumbletonians (see below for additional details)
VA
36 YL
James Madison, “father of the Constitution”
VA
55 OP
General George Washington
VA
34 YL
Edmund Randolph, young governor of Virginia
VA
61 OP
George Wythe, respected law professor
VA
62, OP, Grmbl
George Mason, principled statesman
MD
39 Grmbl
Luther Martin, unkempt
MD
64
Daniel St. Thomas Jenifer, 18th-century (old) style
DE
40 Grmbl
Gunning Bedford, Jr., a large man
DE
55 OP, Grmbl
John Dickinson, in ill health
NJ
41 Grmbl
William Paterson, short and feisty delegate
NH
46
John Langdon, late-comer
NY
32 Grmbl
John Lansing, Jr, handsome naysayer
NY
49 Grmbl
Robert Yates, Lansing’s mentor
NY
30 YL
Alexander Hamilton, handsome, brash
CT
66 OP
Roger Sherman, covert politician
PA
81 OP
Dr. Benjamin Franklin, infirm
PA
35 YL
Gouverneur Morris, one-legged ladies’ man
PA
45 OP
“Judge” James Wilson, esteemed legal authority
MA
49 OP
Nathaniel Gorham, President of the Continental Congress
MA
43 Grmbl
Elbridge Gerry, argumentative friend of John Adams
MA
32 YL
Rufus King, small of stature
NC
43
William Blount, chronically late
SC 48 OP “Dictator John” Rutledge, blustering
SC
29 YL
Charles Pinckney, effete aristocrat
GA
33
Abraham Baldwin, good-natured

NON-DELEGATES, with age if known

SHAYS SCENE
Daniel Shays (39), leader of rebellion
Jason Parmenter (51), “Captain of the insurgents”
Molly Pitcher (late 30s), composite character; appears later as Cleaning Woman
additional marchers to comprise ensemble chorus, mostly men
Voice at the Arsenal (unseen)
OTHER NON-DELEGATES
Secretary William Jackson (28), professional attitude
Jackson, the Slave (mature), Washington’s trusted valet, watchful and aware
Henry (any age), Madison’s servant
Jacob Good, seasoned adult, Independence Hall servant (optional)
Eliza Hamilton(29), beautiful newlywed
Dolley Payne (19) the future First Lady
Katie and Penelope, young floozies
Jenny and Jacob Adams, tavern waitress and proprietor (optional)
photo by Kevin McGuire

photo by Kevin McGuire

Historically accurate, the nicknames given Young Lions (YL), Old Patriots (OP), and Grumbletonians (Grmbl), were applied in 1787 to describe delegates having similar interests. These were neither mutually exclusive groups nor automatically assigned by age.

With limited historical documentation of Jackson, Washington’s valet and slave, the character here is modeled on William Lee, who had been at Washington’s side for most of his life.

CASTING NOTES – At least a couple from among the delegates, additional to Washington, have a featured dance in “In Committee,” while nearly all delegates have some modest dancing in that song.

photo by Kevin McGuire

photo by Kevin McGuire

Nearly all delegates have solo vocal lines. All cast members in Company choruses must part-sing, and chorus vocal parts are assigned for balance. (MIDI recordings of vocal parts, for individual practice, are in progress.) Players with “character” voices can – and should – be cast in roles with selected solos. Players added to the chorus of the premiere were asked to provide period names, especially from their ancestry, for the printed program, as a means of investment in their characters.

1787 the Musical