Original Cast Recording
Peter Udell |
James Lee Barrett
|Basis||1965 film Shenandoah|
1974 Goodspeed Opera House |
1989 Broadway revival
Tony Award for Best Book in a Musical |
Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (John Cullum)
Shenandoah is a musical that was composed during 1974 with music by Gary Geld, lyrics by Peter Udell, and book by Udell, Philip Rose, and James Lee Barrett. The musical is based on Barrett's original screenplay for the 1965 film Shenandoah.
Charlie Anderson, a widower, lives with his large family in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, during the American Civil War. Anderson does not wish to be involved with the war because he doesn't consider it "his" war, but he is forced to take action when his youngest son Robert is taken prisoner by Union soldiers. In the course of searching for Robert, Charlie, his daughter Jenny, and some of his sons rescue Sam (Jenny's newlywed Confederate soldier husband) from a Yankee POW train. After enduring the tragedy of losing his eldest son Jacob (to a sniper) and his second eldest son James and James' wife Anne (to deserters), Charlie and the rest of the family return home, defeated. In his despair, Charlie is reminded to return to church, where he, at long last, is reunited with Robert once more.
The play was first performed at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut, during 1974. It transferred to the Alvin Theatre on Broadway beginning on January 7, 1975. where it played for a total of 1,050 performances, ending August 7, 1977.
The cast featured John Cullum (Charlie Anderson, the main role), Joel Higgins (James), Penelope Milford (Jenny), Robert Rosen (Henry), Ted Agress (Jacob), Gordon Halliday (Sam), Chip Ford (Gabriel), Joseph Shapiro (Robert, the boy), David Russell (John), Jordan Suffin (Nathan), Gary Harger (Corporal), Charles Welch (Rev. Byrd), and Donna Theodore (Anne), who won a Drama Desk Award for her performance. The cast also included Betsy Beard, Tedd Carrere, Stephen Dubov, Gary Harger, Brian James, Robert Johanson, Sherry Lambert, Craig Lucas, Gene Masoner, Paul Myrvold, Dan Ormond, Casper Roos, J. Kevin Scannell, Jack Starkey, E. Allen Stevens, Marshall Thomas, Matt Gavin, Edward Penn, and Ed Preble.
The production was directed by Philip Rose, with scenery by Chuck Murawski, lighting by Thomas R. Skelton, costumes by Pearl Somner and Winn Morton, choreography by Robert Tucker, dance arrangements by Russell Warner, musical direction by Lynn Crigler, and orchestrations by Don Walker. Michael P. Price was executive director of the Goodspeed Opera House.
Shenandoah was revived at the Virginia Theatre on Broadway, again with Cullum in the main role, on August 8, 1989, and ended September 2, 1989. It returned to the Goodspeed Opera House during 1994, featuring Marc Kudisch. A new production began on March 22, 2006 at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., featuring Scott Bakula. A positive critical response and strong sales resulted in the run being extended through May 21, although Bakula left the production April 30.
- Klein, Alvin (August 21, 1994). "After 20 Years, Goodspeed Opera's 'Shenandoah' Back Again" The New York Times.
- Jones, Kenneth (April 10, 2006). "D.C. Shenandoah Extends; Bakula Will Leave, Sutherland Joins the Fray" Playbill.com. Archived 2008-12-03 at the Wayback Machine.