The Burn Brae Dinner Theatre has gotten a lot of mileage out of the musical "1776"--when this run closes on July 4, the show will have played a total of 27 months during the theater's 15 years of life. It's almost as much of a staple as the macaroni salad.
The orchestra in this show is, alas, pre-recorded. While this seems to be a standard money-saving device in dinner theaters, it is still disconcerting; the performers operate under the threat of not keeping up with the machine, which tends inevitably to remove a degree of spontaneity.
In other respects the performers are competent, although many are saddled with ill-fitting wigs that are neither of the period nor facsimiles of real hair. Daniel Paolucci has taken over as John Adams, and manages the grumpy-but-honorable caricature provided by the authors of this historical crumpet. Director Rodney Fayman, who also plays Lee, has chosen to emphasize the lewd elements of the show, giving the clear impression that the Declaration of Independence was written only as a chore between Jefferson's amorous activities with his wife. The show is a perennial because it is well-written and has effective musical comedy music, but the temptation to take it as historically accurate should be resisted.