from Robert Picklesimer: (continuing from Chapter 1 Part 3 of History of the 1787 Constitutional Convention as Presented in 1787 the Musical – We Wrote the Constitution) Who didn’t make the cut? Of the 55 delegates who attended the Convention, which delegates were absolutely not needed for our story, and which delegates were still important figures but needed to be cut for expediency? … Then, as we were developing the play, it became clear that we still had too many delegates on the stage, so, reluctantly we gave up….
from Robert Picklesimer: (continuing from Part 2)…But then there was Lucinda’s administrative side.
She had worked with other musicals of local theatre groups and schools and had written original music for the University of Illinois Department of Dance, so the first thing she did was to start formatting the play to recognizable standards, then to start allocating time – budgeting time – for the various songs and dialogue scenes.
But her largest early administrative contribution was to have us present our project to Eduardo Diaz-Muñoz, Chair of the Division of Opera at the University School of Music. The Division of Opera was just starting to expand their musical theatre offerings. They do a workshop production every year on one of the University of Illinois’ premiere stages, and this was just the sort of thing they were looking for. So, …
from Robert Picklesimer: (continuing from Part 1) …But [at that point] most of the songs were just sketchy ideas about the tone and approach to some of the songs and I had no idea how to implement them.
So in February of 2005 I approached the University of Illinois School of Music, thinking surely they had someone, maybe some graduate students, who did that sort of thing. I even suggested I needed someone to help “orchestrate” a musical I had in mind. Well, it was far more than “orchestration,” although I didn’t know that at the time. The secretary at the School of Music sent me to Lucinda Lawrence, who taught that sort of thing…. (more about development of the musical)
from Robert Picklesimer: In 2011, we produced 1787 We the People at the 1500-seat Virginia Theatre, an historical landmark in downtown Champaign, Illinois – the fruition of more than 10 years of development. I had performed in an earlier musical, 1776 and had long wondered if the writing of the Constitution could benefit from a similar treatment. Between 1993 and 2000 I had developed other theatre pieces, but in approaching the historical subject of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the problem and question was the same as with every show: was there enough “drama” – enough interest – to make a play/musical about the subject worthwhile? Then in 1999, I quite accidentally stumbled upon . . . . (more about development of the musical)
I am working on a companion pamphlet/book, giving further information about the delegates to the 1787 Convention, to be available soon. Chapters include
Who We Put In, Who We Took Out, The Importance of George Washington, etc. Have just done sections on Roger Sherman, William Paterson, and the important Pennsylvania delegates, and am just now beginning chapter on George Read of Delaware. This was all at the suggestion of Jeff Goldberg, who produced the premiere of 1787, and suggested I write a book about that Constitutional Convention and those who attended.
Robert Picklesimer worked on the script before pursuing a composer in 2005, and because he said he needed an orchestrator and I was teaching the “Band Arranging” course, his phone call to the university was transferred to me. Little did we know then the magnitude of collaborative work upon which we were to embark!