The Founding Fathers just might hurl if they could see what this country has come to: wars based on advancing business agendas, generals giving Rolling Stone interviews, crazy immigration laws and economic recession. Real politicians like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson didn't waste time with shenanigans 234 years ago. That's when men were men, women had no rights and people owned slaves . . . hey, wait a cotton-pickin' minute! If you think our country was in any better shape back then, take a gander at the musical 1776 to see how plenty of patriots wanted to put the kibosh on the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War, when a story about America wouldn't seem to have much promise. Yet gussied up with catchy tunes and choreography along with a bit of dramatic tweaking based on actual memoirs and letters of the period, the play won the Tony for Best Musical. Who knows? This might inspire songwriters to set the BP oil spill to music. Grease 2, anyone? Musical Theatre West at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton St., Cal State Long Beach; Fri., July 9, 8 p.m., through July 25; $30-$80. (562) 856-1999, –Heidi Dvorak

Sat., July 10, 8 p.m.; Sun., July 11, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., July 18, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., July 25, 2 p.m. Starts: July 10. Continues through July 25, 2010

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