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Here are some fan's comments
about Kevin's performance as Edward Rutledge in "1776"

Review By

Review Date

Show Dates
Sept 23, 2001


When I drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles to see 1776 I had literally no idea who was in the play beyond Chad Brannon. I had a vague recollection of Roger Rees from the Mel Brooks comedy Robin Hood: Men in Tights but that was as far as it got. I was wonderfully surprised by the amount of talent that comprised the cast of this witty stage production.

Kevin Earley, whom I'd never heard of before and had the coveted part of Edward Rutledge , kept me spellbound during his scenes. He was consistently on the mark, he had an abundance of both comedic talent and stage presence but his voice was what reverberated through my mind. Regardless of whether he was doing his solo, or contributing with the rest of the cast, it reached into every corner of the theatre.

You could literally feel the effects of his voice on the entire theatre, the respectful silence during his incredible rendition of Molasses to Rum and the awe that followed in that split second before the applause thundered. It was as if every spectator was still listening, with his mind and heart, to the music as it settled within.

I enjoyed the entire show but if I were to pinpoint the highlights hearing Kevin Earley sing would definitely be at the top of the list.

What amazing talent Kevin Earley must have to take a character that I utterly despised and turn him in to my favorite performance of the entire show! Being the staunch liberal that I am, I fought giving in to his wonderful performance at first because it took me a while to warm up to the character of Edward Rutledge. But by the time Rutledge jumped up on John Adams' desk and mimicked the auctioneer's cry, I was completely in awe. One of the most wonderful things about Kevin's performance was that from the moment he stepped on the stage, he WAS Edward Rutledge. He always maintained the disposition of a southern aristocrat. The way he carried himself on stage, walked, sat, spoke with others was always so true to character and he always carried an air of calm, quiet dignity that made him seem so fitting as one of the "Cool, Cool Considerate Men".

Which is why his solo was so powerful. In that brief instant, the cool southerner with his calm dignity exploded into emotion and passion. Trying to prove his point that the New Englanders were hypocrites because they too were profiting from slavery, his song, "Molasses to Rum" was a powerful showstopper in the second act.

I think the thing I loved most about Kevin's performance was his terrific use of body language. His movements and mannerisms were ever so subtle, but very effective in developing his character and emphasizing his points. For example, in "Molasses to Rum" when he sang, "Hail slavery, the New England dream!" Instead of just extending his arms outward like most performers, Kevin bent his knees and leaned back a little for emphasis and in the process showed the cockiness that was so integral to the Rutledge character. I can't describe how wonderful it was to finally watch a performer who didn't LOOK like he was performing. During his solo he looked angered and indignant , sang like he was out to passionately prove his point , and all the while belting out the sweetest most powerful notes that I had ever heard from any performer.

Which brings me to his voice,...oh my gosh,...his voice was just remarkable! There are almost no words that can describe the beauty and perfection of that man's voice!! It was smooth and silky, powerful and compelling,..just perfection with every note and every beat...Just incredible!! So incredible that even after seeing his performance five times, my hands still shook from all the intensity! Although it's true I haven't seen anyone else perform this particular role on stage, I have heard others on the cast recording sing "Molasses to Rum" and they absolutely pale in comparison! My apologizes to all the John Cullum fans out there, but Kevin FAR exceeded Mr. Cullum's range and intensity from the first few notes of the song.

At the end, my favorite Rutledge moment was when he stood there, glaring at the audience after his solo ended, before he led the southern delegation out of congress. The look of contempt and utter righteousness on his face was such a contrast to his cool demeanor that we were so used to seeing throughout the rest of the play. It was fabulous!

We saw the show five times within the span of a week and every performance was just as, if not more, powerful than the last. I personally think his opening night performance and the first Sunday's matinee were the best that I had seen, although I can't imagine ever being disappointed by his solo. INCREDIBLE is the only word I can think of to adequately describe his performance.







Review By

Review Date

Show Dates
Sept 3-6. & 9, 2001


Submitted By

Review Date

Show Dates
Sept 3-6,9, 2001

Thanks, Pat!

I fell in love with the musical "1776" the first time I heard it, but I enjoyed parts of the musical more than others. Having seen the movie and listened to the Broadway and New Broadway Cast Recordings, I knew the songs but it wasn't until I saw the Reprise Series version of "1776" in September 2001 that I appreciated the power or importance of the part of Rutledge and the song he delivered, "Molasses to Rum to Slaves." Other actors portrayed the character adequately. Kevin Earley brought the character of Rutledge to a whole new level in this version of the show.

Kevin's vocal abilities were the first thing I noticed. His strong voice could be heard throughout the entire production, but were especially crisp during "Cool, Cool Considerate Men," playing the perfect compliment to Mark Ryan's John Dickinson. Each time I saw the production (we were there 5 times), I enjoyed the character of Rutledge more. By the end of the run, I found I was watching for Earley's Rutledge even more than the characters I was normally following. The absolute epitome of incredible theater to me is when a performer can make you appreciate something you don't like. Kevin was able to do that for me. I have always disliked both Rutledge's egotistic attitdue as well as the song "Molasses to Rum to Slaves" due to its message as well as its less than exciting music. I walked away from this production with a new appreciation for not only the character of Rutledge, but also for the man who portrayed him. I certainly hope that Kevin will be in many future productions that I will be able to attend. He is truly an actor who I am looking forward to following!

Sheri and Pat had hinted at Kevin's considerable talent, so upon arriving at 1776,I had my eye on him. Not only was he a good actor but could the man sing! I was on a direct angle with the speakers in the theater and the power and timbre of his voice had me shaking in my seat. To say that his voice is merely good is an understatement; this man can sing! He easily hasone of the clearest most powerful voices that I have ever been blessed to hear!

Submitted By
Bree (destinyin2k)

Review Date

Submitted By
Sumi (coolgiggles)

Review Date
Oct 3, 2001

Show Dates
Sept 8 & 16, 2001

Thanks, Sumi!

Kevin Earley: A Discovered Treasure

When I heard that Reprise was showing a limited run of the critically acclaimed musical "1776" on the UCLA campus, I have to admit that I was not at all interested in going. But my friends convinced me to go. I went, hoping to finally understand why so many people love this musical.

I got it after the musical. If I have to choose just one word to describe the musical, I'd say it was brilliant, from start to finish—the songs lively and poignant. However, the performer who unexpectedly enchanted me was none other than Kevin Earley.

Playing a senator representing South Carolina, Earley's character disagreed with Thomas Jefferson's idea of equality for all mankind. To prove how the North was hypocritical on their idea of equality, Earley sang "Molasses to Rum". The moment Kevin Earley opened his mouth on the first note, I was captivated and awed by his powerfully intoxicating voice. Earley not only manage to articulate but also draw out raw emotions during the song, almost moving me to tears.

Before "1776", I didn't know who Kevin Earley was but now, after being fortunate to catch his breath-taking performance three times, I am most definitely looking forward to seeing him perform in any musical. I know that I have, along with many new fans, found a treasure in Kevin Earley.

I didn't originally go to 1776 to see Kevin Earley. In fact, I'd never even heard of him. But, I could tell you now, I would go to anything in which he's performing. I saw the show six times, and anticipated his performance more each time. To say he sings well would be an understatement. When he sings, you go quiet and listen in awe to his beautiful voice. When he's done, you can't help but give him enthusiastic applause. It's always smart to give the controversial song, in this case, "Molasses to Rum," to a performer with with an absolutely amazing voice. That last note he hits, he doesn't even need a microphone. There are no words to describe how his voice makes you feel. I would see any thing he's in.

Submitted By
Bobbie (redzem)

Review Date
Oct 4, 2001

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