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Shenandoah – Original Broadway Cast Recording 1975

Shenandoah – Original Broadway Cast Recording 1975

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Synopsis

Prologue It is 1862, and the Civil War is raging. In the Shenandoah Valley, in Northwest Virginia, where his farmhouse sits in the middle of the ebb and flow of the fighting, Charlie Anderson, a widower, father of six sons and a daughter, is determined to keep his family out of the action, ready to hold his land and to continue farming. He promises his deceased wife that “our house is going to stand . . . and our family . . . our blood is going to stay together.” Confederate and Union soldiers sing of their sides’ resolve to win – Raise The Flag Of Dixie. Charlie, at his wife’s grave, stands at center stage, separating the opposing contingents. Act I It is Sunday morning. Inside the Anderson house the six sons (the youngest, Robert – called The Boy – is wearing a Confederate cap), daughter Jenny and daughter-in-law Anne, who is pregnant, are arguing vehemently about the pros and cons of the war when Charlie enters. All rise till their father is seated. He offers grace. The children are eager to get back to their argument. Charlie, hating “a lot of noisy silence,” grants permission but expresses the hope that they understand what war is really about – I’ve Heard It All Before. On their way to church, Boy lags behind to meet his best friend, Gabriel, a barefooted black youngster, to plan to go fishing. He joins the others at church where Reverend Byrd urges duty to God, neighbors and the State of Virginia. The congregation sings Pass The Cross To Me. While fishing, Boy and Gabriel talk about the service. Gabriel confesses he’s never been to church – slave children are not welcome. Boy would willingly change places, but Gabriel has a thought about that: “I don’t think you’d be much good at bein’ a slave. It takes practice.” – Why Am I Me? Charlie and his sons are planning their work schedule when a Confederate patrol arrives to draft the boys. The family grab rifles. The boys are not about to go. Charlie won’t permit it and threatens to defend their rights. The patrol gives up the quest; as they move off, John has a thought: “I’ll bet if we did get into this war, we’d be hell” – Next To Lovin’ (I Like Fightin’). That evening Sam, a young lieutenant in the Confederate army, comes calling on Jenny. After supper she tries to squeeze the will-you-be-mine question out of her stammering beau. She has some news for him – Over The Hill. Charlie and Boy, sitting on the porch, have watched the entire scene. Boy isn’t quite sure what Sam means by taking the girl of the household away to make a different life for her. Charlie knows that the time has come – The Pickers Are Comin’. The next morning a Confederate lieutenant arrives with six men, stating they are Federal purchasing agents, authorized to confiscate the Anderson horses. When Charlie refuses, one of the men infers that the family is “too yellow to fight.” The Andersons rise up at the insult. Charlie punches the agent, and they chase the intruders off their land. The entire family is involved in the confrontation. Charlie swears he’ll fight any man that gives him provocation, but he’s “not about to go out and hunt strangers down to kill ’em! And that’s what War is, boy! Open season on strangers!” The children realize then that they are all Andersons, and are united as a family. Charlie returns to Martha’s grave, to explain his outlook and how difficult it is to stay out of the middle – Meditation. Jenny and Sam’s wedding day arrives. Anne attempts to explain the differences between husbands and wives to Jenny – We Make A Beautiful Pair. The ceremony takes place in the farmyard, with Rev. Byrd officiating – Violets And Silverbells. Just as it ends a Confederate corporal arrives and orders Sam to report for duty without delay. He leaves immediately. At the same time Anne develops labor pains, and Jacob is sent to fetch the doctor. In the parlor the whole family paces nervously, awaiting the birth in an upstairs bedroom. Charlie, playing “heads and tails,” is certain It’s A Boy! Suddenly Gabriel appears to report that Yankees took Boy: he was wearing his little grey cap and they were sure he was a Rebel. Charlie wastes no time. James will stay behind with Anne and the new-born Martha. The Andersons break out rifles, saddlebags and bedrolls, and hitch up their horses to ride in search of Boy. Act II Gabriel tells Anne how the Yankees came through, burned down the old plantation and then told him he wasn’t slave “inventory” any longer – he was free. He “sure felt different” and has come to say goodbye – Freedom. When Gabriel leaves, Anne and James talk about their promise to each other – Violets And Silverbells (Reprise). James goes out to the well to fetch some water and is accosted by three disreputable-looking scavengers. When they learn that only he and Anne are around, they attack and kill them both. The rest of the family are miles away, resting by some railroad tracks, weary from the distances they’ve traveled and all the Yankee camps and train depots they have searched. They haven’t found Boy yet, but Charlie won’t give up. He is holding up just fine – Papa’s Gonna Make It Alright. A prisoner train is stopped, blocked by logs the family have piled up on the tracks. Charlie tells the soldiers to “go back where you belong . . . to your women and children.” One of the prisoners is Sam, who is reunited with Jenny. One corporal wonders if the fighting and killing “has all been for nothing.” The only thing he’s sure of is what’s waiting back there – The Only Home I Know. Later that evening a Confederate patrol attacks the family camp and kills Jacob. Without compunction, Charlie shoots the sniper. Then he decides they’ll all go home, to bury Jacob near his mother. Reaching the farm, they discover that Anne and James are also dead. Only little Martha is still alive. Charlie visits his wife’s grave once again to try to explain his actions during their search for Boy. It is war, he admits, but “like all wars, the undertakers are winning it.” – Meditation II. He hears the sound of church bells and realizes it is another Sunday morning. Rev. Byrd is still preaching about the destruction the North is causing. When Charlie and his folks walk in, the minister welcomes them all back. Just then a bedraggled Boy hobbles in. All rejoice – Pass The Cross To Me.

Credits

Charlie Anderson: John Cullum Jacob: Ted Agress James: Joel Higgins Nathan: Jordan Suffin John: David Russell Jenny: Penelope Milford Henry: Robert Rosen Robert (The Boy): Joseph Shapiro Anne: Donna Theodore Gabriel: Chip Ford Rev. Byrd: Charles Welch Sam: Gordon Halliday Sergeant Johnson: Edward Penn Lieutenant: Marshall Thomas Tinkham: Charles Welch Carol: Casper Roos Corporal: Gary Harger Marauder: Gene Masoner Engineer: Ed Preble Confederate Sniper: Craig Lucas Ensemble: 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. Allan Stevens, Marshall Thomas, Matt Gavin.