Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of SHENANDOAH at Serenbe Playhouse with Rachel Potter and Taylor Hicks
The story of one family's struggle living in the Shenandoah Valley during the American Civil War leaps to life in a hidden field in Serenbe, transporting you to the rolling hills of Virginia. A theatrical journey of heartbreak and ultimately hope in a fight for human rights will erupt out of an actual Civil War reenactment with over 100 soldiers, canons, horses and with an all-star cast of singer/musicians in a fight for Freedom and Love!
In addition to Taylor Hicks and Rachel Potter, the cast features Caleb Baumann (Gabriel), Daniel Burns (James Anderson), Chase Davidson (Jacob Anderson), Pilot Bunch (Boy Anderson), Sophie DeLeo (Jenny Anderson), Jeremy Gee (John Anderson), Cullen Gray (Nathan Anderson), Jordan Patrick (Sam), Aaron Schilling (Henry Anderson), Jeremy Skidmore (Rev. Byrd). The Ensemble includes: Andrew Andersen, Alden Burroughs, Brady Dunn, Destiny Freeman, Alexandria Joy, Karley Rene, Terrence Smith.
To breathe new life into this classic story, Director Brian Clowdus (Artistic/ Executive Director, Founder of Serenbe Playhouse) leads a creative team including: Bubba Carr (Choreography), Chris Brent Davis (Music Director), Adam Koch (Scenic Designer), Joel Coady (Lighting Designer/ Director of Production), Rob Brooksher (Sound Designer), Emmie Thompson (Costume Designer), Mark Warner (Technical Director), and Jake Guinn (Stunt Coordinator).
Tickets are on sale now. Ticket prices start at $40. Senior/student and group discounts are available. Rain Insurance is available for all tickets. All may be purchased online at www.serenbeplayhouse.com, or by calling the box office (770-463-1110), Wednesday - Sunday, 12pm - 5pm.
Let's see what the critics have to say...
Manning Harris, Atlanta In Town: The music is tuneful and serviceable but not memorable in a Rodgers and Hammerstein way. However, it's performed very well; and the orchestra, under Chris Brent Davis' direction, is superb. Major kudos for the scenic design (Adam Koch), costumes (Emmie Thompson), lighting (Joel Coady), and sound (Rob Brooksher). You do recall we are outside, so excellent technical work is a necessity; and we've got it. Mr. Clowdus has a talent for working with the best.
Amy Zipperer, BroadwayWorld: Clowdus's cast is a solid one. Though headliner Taylor Hicks, admittedly, seldom reaches the level of toughness his dominant patriarchal character begs, partly because he's simply too young to be wholly believable in the part, his role is exceptionally well-sung. His rich and soulful voice, though limited in range, shows off the score to its best advantage, minimizing the hum-drum-ness of some of the more difficult folk songs. Rachel Potter, far more confident in her role of Anne Anderson, wife of one of the young Anderson sons, also sings beautifully.
Jody Tuso-Key, Speakeysie.com: Immersive doesn't even begin to describe this theater experience. This play literally starts off with a bang, beginning with a 100 soldier Civil War re-enactment complete with horses, and cannon fire. From there we are taken to the home of Charlie Anderson and his family. Charlie refuses allow his sons to take part in the war, as he feels it's not "his" war. Eventually, the family is dragged into the conflict when Charlie's youngest son, Robert, is taken prisoner by Union Soldiers.
Marshall W. Mabry IV, MWMIVspeaks.com: It's beautiful to me that you can bring in these stars, Taylor Hicks and Rachel Potter but they're not the center of every scene. People still have their moments to shine. One actress that blew me away was Sophie DeLeo, I'd never seen her perform before but she did that! She was singing at the top of her range in thirty-degree weather which I applaud this entire cast for. But none of her performance was rushed, she hit her beats, gave them time to breathe, then moved on and I loved that.
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