He stood alongside Washington, Adams, Franklin, Lafayette and at times singlehandedly kept the colonial government afloat during the American Revolution, yet today he is mostly forgotten.
"He" is Robert Morris, who arrived in the colonies as a mere lad, and through hard work and ingenuity became one of the wealthiest, most influential men of his time: Signed the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and U.S. Constitution; preferred to be elected to America's first U.S. Senate after turning down the job of Secretary of the Treasury; founder of the U.S. Navy and Financier of the American Revolution.
What Robert Morris did and why he fell from public recognition is at the core of Joe Doyle's epic historical musical, "The Man Who Bought a Country" – being presented in picturesque Morrisville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania from August 17 – 26 as a centerpiece of the borough's "A Revolutionary Weekend" celebration.
"A Revolutionary Weekend" is August 23rd - 26th and is drawing visitors to Bucks County from Boston, MA to Virginia. It features motor coach tours of important sites which were vital to the American Revolution. The first stop is Summerseat, a home owned by Morris which was later sold to patriot George Clymer. Summerseat, a recognized National Historic Landmark, is the only home owned by two signers of the Declaration of Independence (Morris and Clymer). Next stop is Washington Crossing, PA to see where The General and his troops encamped prior to their famed crossing of the Delaware River. It then crosses into New Jersey to parallel the march route, arriving at the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, where the battle took place. Historical interpreters will narrate along the way to describe Washington's arduous trek on the night of the crossing.
"The Man Who Bought a Country" enjoyed its premiere in 2004, having been commissioned to celebrate Morrisville Borough's bicentennial. The author (book, music and lyrics) -- Joe Doyle – says Morris was "possibly the second-most significant player in the American Revolution." Doyle is co-founder/general manager of the Actors' NET of Bucks County, a small nonprofit theatre in the borough.
"Our show chronicles Morris' amazing contributions to the war effort and the growth of the young country," Doyle said. "The musical styles are pure Broadway -- stirring and romantic ballads and big brassy production numbers. We celebrate how Morris personally financed Washington's assaults on Trenton, Princeton and the Battle of Yorktown. As Financier of our fledgling government, he was both treasurer and the chief civil officer – with full authority to hire and fire government and military personnel. He often used his own fortune to keep the war effort afloat – circulating 'Morris notes,' which in effect were his IOUs and were considered as good as cash."
"The Man Who Bought a Country" lifts the veil on the bickering of our first Congress and how Morris tragically fell from grace. Prominent characters depicted include his devoted wife Mary, Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Lafayette and Hamilton.
The complete "Revolutionary Weekend" (bus tour and musical) is $90 for adults, $85 for seniors and $80 for children aged 12 and under. It also includes a separate ticket for use any time for free admission to other nearby historic sites, as well as special one-man shows featuring historical interpreters of John Adams and William Markham, William Penn's secretary and twice acting governor of Pennsylvania during Penn's absence. Show-only tickets for the musical are $20.
Sponsored by the Morrisville Business Association, in partnership with The Actors' NET of Bucks County, the Historic Morrisville Society (HMS), Washington Crossing Historic Association and the Old Barracks Museum, space is limited for the Revolutionary Weekend Tour. Further information and reservations can be obtained on-line at www.aRevolutionaryWeekend.com. Tour-only and show-only reservations are also available.