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Would a Shenandoah revival work?

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mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/20/14 at 11:30pm
What do you guys think that a revival of Shenandoah could work in today's world? It's such a lovely piece, but I don't know if a commercial run could work. Maybe LCT could do a good revival of it. Thoughts?
Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/20/14 at 11:37pm
It was very sappy. Corny, too.

I don't see this as a Lincoln Center offering.

Updated On: 5/21/14 at 11:37 PM
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Someone in a Tree2
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/12
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/20/14 at 11:41pm
I remember the 1975 original being saccharine sweet to a fault. Jon Cullum brought gravitas to his scenes but a lot of the rest seemed geared for kids--a weirdly happy-go-lucky show even though it was supposed to be dealing with black/white relations and brother-on-brother fighting in the Civil war.

I'd much prefer a revival of The Robber Bridegroom or even Goodtime Charley from the same period.
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Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/20/14 at 11:46pm
Seriously doubt it.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/20/14 at 11:50pm
I think it could work. Why not? I think they could make the focus on the Civil War more immediate and intense. When I saw it in 1975 it was the first time I recall hearing somebody sob audibly at a live show.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
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dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 08:29am
Maybe Encores! could do it. I don't know who I'd cast as Charlie. You need a truly charismatic actor. (NOT Hugh Jackman-he's too young still.)

I love the music and think if it did well enough at Encores! it could get transferred. (I actually love the film and think the musical might do well to follow it more-there is a balance with the themes in the film.) It's an anti-war film essentially (a southerner/Virginian who refuses to support the Confederacy-he's an abolitionist), and who has to come to terms with what is going on around him.

I think a re-write of the script should be there, but a lot of the music is just lovely.
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 10:45am
It's very enjoyable trash - pure low-brow schmaltz. Geld and Udell wrote some perfectly nice songs, but I don't think anyone considers them A-list theatre songwriters, and some of the songs are both cheaply enjoyable and highly mock-able - "We Make A Beautiful Pair" (or, rather "paaay-errrr"), "Freedom" ("freedom ain't a state like West Virginia, freedom is a state... of mind!"), "Next To Lovin'" ("I like fightin' best").

I think just about anyone could write a new show of equal or greater quality, so why a Broadway revival of this summer-stock/community theatre favorite?
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 11:24am
I could be wrong, trying to excavate memories from 1975, but I think it's "Freedom ain't a state like Maine or Virginia…" Woah woah woah woah woah.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 11:27am
You're probably right; I was quoting from very distant memory...
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dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 11:56am
A thought: How about a special one night only reading of the SCREENPLAY as a play? (The screenplay is great.)
WOSQ
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 03:34pm
There was a revival maybe 20 years back with Cullum in his original role and rest was a tour that had been brought in from Canada. It ran about 6 weeks.
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 03:42pm
I remember that. I recall it being labelled "a triumphant return".
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
LostinTranslation
Swing
joined:3/13/14
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 06:33pm
Ford's Theatre did a revival in 2006 with Scott Bakula, which was pretty good. They seemed to play it serious/silly rather than sappy. As for Freedom, well, every show has it's dog.... I'd like to see it revived.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 07:20pm
I don't believe the original was PLAYED in an unserious fashion, it's just that the show's lyrics are sappy and don't rise to the quality of the themes and dialog from the film.

But I saw it many times (conductor was a friend) and I have to admit that, as when the von Trapps finally start up the Alps, I start to cry whenever Boy limps into the church, calling "Pa! ... Pa!"

As for the success of a revival, it was easy for an audience to be anti-war in 1975, as Saigon fell. I'm not sure WHAT our feelings are about war nowadays or how an audience will receive a show that says when you resort to violence, you lose what you hold most dear.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/21/14 at 09:01pm
Shenandoah was my first Broadway show, so I have a very special place in my heart for it.

That being said, I think a modern revival is tough. The song Freedom is very 1970s. The "woah, woah, woah, woah" is really out of place.

The father role really does need someone with gravitas. In the original, the excellent John Cullum was criticized for not being John Raitt.

I think Encores or Shakespeare in the Park would be the best venue for this piece.

But I'm actually surprised some of the songs haven't had an afterlife. "We Make A Beautiful Pair" wound up on the Skinner/Ripley album, but "Violets & Silverbells" is a nice song and "Over The Hill" makes a great comic audition piece.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/22/14 at 09:17pm
Goth, John Raitt is my all-time favorite Broadway baritone voice, but he was never that strong an actor (except, for some reason, when singing "Soliloquy"). There's no way he would have been better as the Father than John Cullum.

I did a winter stock production with Howard Keel. Let's just say he, too, sang it well.

If anything, I think the score to PURLIE holds up better, but I doubt many would tolerate the racial stereotypes on which the comedy is based.

Even in SHENANDOAH, there's something condescending about a black slave needing a white woman to explain what "freedom" means. :roll eyes: But I agree there are several lovely tunes in the score, including those you name.

(P.S. I want to add that I also had the fortune to work with Raitt. He was not only a consummate professional, but a lovely man (and a doting grandfather). I just don't think he had the acting range that Cullum has.)
Updated On: 5/22/14 at 09:17 PM
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/22/14 at 09:37pm
Joel Higgins was the Scott Bakula of the original cast.

I would LOVE to see Scott Bakula in Shenandoah.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/22/14 at 10:40pm
"There's no way he would have been better as the Father than John Cullum."

The critic wasn't saying that John Raitt should play the role. He was just saying that Cullum was a lightweight. I don't agree with that but I understand what the critic was getting at.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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South Fl Marc
Broadway Legend
joined:6/23/04
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/23/14 at 08:50am
Let's not forget that John Cullum Won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Performance and the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Shenandoah.
So much for being "lightweight".
Now living in DC. I really have to change my name on the board.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/23/14 at 10:08am
Oh, I agree. I think he was great in the role. But the point being, as someone made before, is that you can't have a Hugh Jackman in the role. It really needs someone who has a strong, commanding singing voice and a strong stage presence. Unfortunately, Broadway is not writing male roles for those types these days.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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musikman
Broadway Star
joined:8/31/06
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/23/14 at 11:58am
I would have killed to see John Cullum sing this live:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roC5Hv1oa0Q&feature=kp
-There's the muddle in the middle. There's the puddle where the poodle did the piddle."
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/23/14 at 12:11pm
"I would have killed to see John Cullum sing this live"

We'll have to settle for this.

Link
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Would a Shenandoah revival work?
Posted: 5/23/14 at 12:16pm
And the thing about the link I posted above: I don't know why they are pretending they are so poor. You see a pamper on that baby. If they were the first family in Virginia to have pampers in the 1860s, they should have patented them and made a fortune.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

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