“Never discuss religion and politics.”
So goes the old saying, the assumption being that such a discussion runs the danger of turning into a verbal—if not physical—knock-down-drag-out fight.
It could also be the stuff of a rollicking, highly entertaining and enjoyably provocative evening of musical theatre.
As a case in point, consider “First Freedom”—the exciting new musical by Emmy Award winning composer Sam Cardon and award-winning playwright Rob Lauer.
Set during the period of the American Revolution, “First Freedom” presents the little known story of how the Founding Fathers’ most intensely felt battle may not have been the war against King George or British Recoats but their political battle against one another. The issue? “Freedom of Conscience,” otherwise known as freedom of religion—“The First Freedom.”
Just as the hit musical “1776” explored how the political battles of John Adams lead to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, so “First Freedom” explores how young James Madison’s battle to secure religious freedom for all citizens lead to the separation of church and state.
“First Freedom” brings to life a cast of Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson—both adored and reviled for his revolutionary ideas—and Patrick Henry—one of America’s first political superstars, nick-named “The Son of Thunder” for his crowd-pleasing, over-the-top oratory.
The politician as celebrity; the relationship of church and state; the clash between rights of the individual and the needs of society; the origin of America’s current conservative/liberal, religious/secular, Red State/Blue State dichotomy— “First Freedom” explores all of these issues and more—and does so in such a way that will have audiences leaving the theatre humming.
“First Freedom” is that rare theatrical creation—a show that is historically accurate, thought-provoking and delightfully entertaining.