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The logo for the Broadway musical “1776” features an eaglet inside a broken eggshell, biting down on a flagpole. The small flag atop the pole shows its colors: red and white stripes, and a blue field in the upper left corner. Across the bottom portion of the egg appears a larger English flag.

The musical begins with John Adams alone in the Pennsylvania State House’s belfry, four floors up, leaning on a massive bell. A messenger approaches and informs him that he must return to the hall.

He races down the steps, walks into the hall where the thirteen colonies’ fifty-plus delegates are seated at tables. There he strides across the room, all the while talking. “One useless man is a disgrace,” he says, “two is called a law firm, and three is a Congress.”

To a person, the other delegates shout at him, in song, “Sit down, John. It’s ninety degrees! Have mercy, John. It’s hot in Philadelphia. Someone ought to open a window. No! No! No! Too many flies.”

The delegates are upset with John, because he wants a vote for a declaration of independence from England, both King and Parliament, now. Most of the delegates favor reconciliation, but not a stubborn lawyer from Massachusetts named John Adams, who has read Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.”

The next day the world-famous Dr. Benjamin Franklin takes Adams aside and says, “John, really. You talk as if independence was the rule. No colony has ever broken from the parent in the history of the world. John, why don’t you give it up? Nobody listens to you. You’re obnoxious and disliked.

Franklin says, “Let someone else introduce a vote for independence.”

Adams responds, “Never,” but he warms to the idea. Franklin and Adams ask Richard Henry Lee, a Virginia delegate, to introduce a motion that permits discussion on independence. The motion passes.

During the debate, John Adams surprises everybody when he calls for a postponement on all future discussion until a document is written for the delegates’ review. Franklin seconds the motion, and the motion passes.

According to the history books, on June 11, 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress appointed five to the committee to write the declaration: Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New York.

Adams and Franklin ask Jefferson to write the document, and he agrees, but is reluctant. He has not seen his wife Martha for six months, but out of duty he stays and writes during those hot summer days.

At one point in the musical, prior to the vote, John finds himself alone in the state house late at night, and he begins to sing, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see? They want me to quit. They say, John, give up the fight. Still to England I say ‘Good night.”

Then, in a second verse, he sings, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see? I see fireworks! I see the pageant and pomp and parade. I hear bells ringing out. I hear cannons roar. I see Americans—all Americans, free forever more.”

The musical “1776” first appeared on March 16, 1969, on a stage at the 46th Street Theatre, two and a half blocks west of Broadway, now called the Richard Rodgers Theatre. William Daniels played the part of John Adams, Ken Howard played Jefferson, and Howard Da Silva played Franklin.

The play ran for 1,217 performances and won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

In 1972, the film producer Jack Warner adapted the play for a film, and he hired the same actors for the movie as appeared on the stage. “I want the whole cast,” he said.

Many of you may know of William Daniels. In addition to playing John Adams, he also played John Quincy Adams in “The Adams Chronicles,” in the mid-1970s on PBS, and also Dr. Mark Craig in “St. Elsewhere,” an arrogant, irritable, but brilliant heart surgeon.

Perhaps his longest stint as a television actor though was as George Feeny, a history teacher at John Adams High School in Philadelphia, on “Boy Meets World,” a sitcom that ran for 7 seasons, from 1993 until 2000, 158 episodes. Cory, Topanga, and Shawn each received life lessons from Mr. Feeney.

Last March, William Daniels turned 95 years old, and he and his wife reside in southern California.

One other piece of trivia. On August 6, 2015, Lin-Manual Miranda staged his musical, “Hamilton,” also at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. In 2016, Lin-Manual Miranda and William Daniels talked.

In their interview, Daniels said that his dressing room, when he played John Adams, is the same as the actor who plays George Washington in “Hamilton,” stage right, with a little door facing the audience.

Miranda summed up their respective musicals, “The truth is more interesting than anything a writer could make up.”

I hope each of you enjoyed your Fourth of July holiday!