1776 is a musical written by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone which opened on Broadway in 1969 and was adapted into a film version in 1972. It tells the story of the American colonies' Second Continental Congress in the days in which its members would debate upon the conditions of declaring independence from England. Historically, the script attempts to depict an accurate portraiture of the events, having used texts and documents from the time including transcripts and letters written by those involved, all amongst a myriad of songs, monologues and heated (sometimes deliberately comical) debate. The three central figures are John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.
In 1982, the Muppets would spoof the musical in a segment filmed for the I Love Liberty television special. Kermit identifies their play by name as 1776 (and the closing credits identify it as "based on the play.") Muppets play historical characters who specifically use dialogue from the play (such as "Are you calling me a madman, you fribble!") and recreate scenes such as a brawl between John Adams and John Dickinson after a volley of name-calling. The scene ends not in a song from the musical, but with a rendition of "Brotherhood of Man" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Writing credits for the Muppet segment were given to Jerry Juhl and Peter Stone, who wrote the book for the musical 1776.
- Betty Buckley played Martha Jefferson in the original 1969 Broadway production
- Pat Hingle played Benjamin Franklin in the 1997 Broadway revival
- Stuart Pankin played Samuel Chase in a 2001 Reprise! production
- Rex Robbins played Roger Sherman in the 1972 film
- Robert Westenberg played Dr. Lyman Hall in the 1997 revival