Native American performer Brooke Simpson, who is currently appearing in the Roundabout-A.R.T. revival of 1776, was recently invited to the White House for a celebration and reception honoring Native American Heritage Month. The event, held November 15, was hosted by First Lady Jill Biden with speaker Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, member of the Pueblo of Laguna. Haaland noted that this is the first event to honor the month, but "it will certainly not be the last."
Simpson, a member of North Carolina's Haliwa-Saponi tribe, plays Roger Sherman in the all-female, trans, and nonbinary cast of 1776, which recognizes the heritage of several members of the diverse cast with subtle nods to their culture in the costuming. Simpson also gives the pre-show speech for the production, including a land acknowledgement for the isle of Manahatta, originally stewarded by the Lenni-Lanape.
See some of the snaps that Simpson shared with Playbill from the event.
1776 runs through January 8, 2023 at the American Airlines Theatre. The Sherman Edwards-Peter Stone musical about the founding fathers on the brink of signing the Declaration of Independence currently features Kristolyn Lloyd as John Adams, Gisela Adisa as Robert Livingston, Nancy Anderson as George Read, Becca Ayers as Col. Thomas McKean, Tiffani Barbour as Andrew McNair, Carolee Carmello as John Dickinson, Allyson Kaye Daniel as Abigail Adams/Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon, Elizabeth A. Davis as Thomas Jefferson, Mehry Eslaminia as Charles Thomson, Joanna Glushak as Stephen Hopkins, Shawna Hamic as Richard Henry Lee, Eryn LeCroy as Martha Jefferson/Dr. Lyman Hall, Liz Mikel as John Hancock, Patrena Murray as Benjamin Franklin, Oneika Phillips as Joseph Hewes, Lulu Picart as Samuel Chase, Sara Porkalob as Edward Rutledge, Sushma Saha as Judge James Wilson, Brooke Simpson as Roger Sherman, Salome B. Smith as Courier, Sav Souza as Dr. Josiah Bartlett, Jill Vallery as Caesar Rodney, and Shelby Acosta, Ariella Serur, Grace Stockdale, Dawn L. Troupe, and Imani Pearl Williams as standbys.