WHO'S WHO IN THE MEDIA THEATRE'S '1776'....BOB STINEMAN IS JOHN DICKINSON

When we think of the Tony winning musical "1776", Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards historically based show that has plenty of humor and reminds of the greatness of our forefathers without being a history lesson, our minds immediately conjure images of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. All three are principle roles in the show, and were leaders during the second Continental Congress during which the eventual Declaration of Independence came to fruition. 

However, "1776" also reminds us that there were other men involved in the shaping of our new nation. Some who have, over time, become mere shadows to the triumphant trio. They were, nonetheless, men who assisted in paving the way for our country's eventual independence.

Bob Stineman, who recently received critical acclaim as Atticus Finch in The Media Theatre's "To Kill A Mockingbird", plays the role of John Dickinson who is a staunch believer in remaining tied to Britain.

"Even though Dickinson is the main antagonist of this show, I don't see him as a villain," Stineman said. "He's doing what he feels is the right thing. Here's a man who takes the unpopular position compared to his compatriots."
"Knowing the force they would be up against, he sees the looming threat that would see a lot of young men dying as they fight for independence," he continued. "It's a terrifying thought and something Dickinson is working to prevent, even if it means staying under the yoke of Great Britain."

Stineman explained, "I'm pretty passive by nature, and can't say I'd take a different approach if I was put in that position. Hopefully the audience will understand how complex an issue this was."

"What's interesting about working on this piece right now is that we are in the middle of a fairly contentious presidential race," he stated. "Compare that to how the nation started. I'm not sure how the founding fathers would feel about what's going on right now, but it does create an odd contextual hindsight."

When reminded that "1776" has much humor along with its context, Stineman said, "Humor is a tool that is very human and it makes these larger-than-life men easy to relate to. The music is a powerful tool in and of itself. It's haunting to hear "Mama Look Sharp". The imagery it creates is so powerful. This young man--a boy, really--dying and hoping his mother will find his body. It's a counterpoint to the humor, and puts into context what is happening outside of Philadelphia while these men are arguing during the Congressional meetings."


"Dickinson was actually a bit different than he is portrayed in "1776"" Stineman said. "He was actually a Quaker, much more soft spoken, and published many papers after the fact in support of independence but also on how he believed the government should function. He was also the only one of the founding fathers to free his slaves."

As per his own career, he's a new Actor's Equity Association member and has a short run of "Silken Veils" that will be performing in Indiana and Philadelphia during their respective Fringe Festivals. He's also working on a full length play as one of his many writing projects. "I can't stop creating," he said. "It's just part of who I am."

Whether it's performing or writing, Stineman has a mantra. "So long as I get to help tell stories and give something to the people watching then I’m a happy man.  It’s my bliss, and I intend to follow it."

Perhaps Dickinson felt the same way as he lived his own life with its own unique angle all those years ago.

For tickets to "1776" call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. The show is directed by Jennie Eisenhower. It's on April 13 through May 22. 














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