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L'événement culturel de l'été à Bruxelles!    

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


Musique: Leonard Bernstein
Paroles: Alan Jay Lerner
Livret: Alan Jay Lerner

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Philadelphia
A theater group is rehearsing a play. The time of the rehearsal is the present, and the time of the play being rehearsed is 1792 to 1902. The play being rehearsed is a history of the White House and the servants who serve the President. One actor plays all the Presidents, and one actress plays all the First Ladies. The main serving staff are the African-American characters of Lud Simmons and Seena. Three generations of adult and young Lud's are played by the same two actors. Lud is an escaped slave who later marries Seena. The events covered in the play include the selection of a new capital city, the Burning of Washington in 1814, the prelude to the U.S. Civil War, the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the 1876 presidential election, and the administration of Chester Alan Arthur. In between rehearsing the various scenes, the actors offer commentary and reflect on the past injustices suffered by the African-Americans throughout the time period covered by the play. This culminates in the Actor Playing the President and the Actor Playing Lud refusing to continue rehearsing the show. After reflection, the Actor Playing the President realizes all he wanted was to feel proud of his country and that he loves this land.

New York
The four main cast members address the audience and inform them that the play covers the first one hundred years of the White House. They say America is a play that is always in rehearsal, undergoing revisions and improvements. The plot then covers the same historical material as the Philadelphia version; however, the actors' commentary is entirely removed.

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