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Front Page » February 15, 2005 » Lifestyle » Shenandoah
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With the Civil War raging, the Anderson's have a wedding and then the groom rushes off to battle. The bride is played by Melissa Anderson, the groom is played by Clint Conover, and the reverend is played by Terry Lofthouse.

County audiences gathered to see Shenandoah presented this past week in the Emery High auditorium. This colorful and dramatic saga revolves around a strong-willed Virginia farmer who tries to keep his family neutral during the Civil War. But the Union forces and the Confederates see only in Union blue or Confederate gray so the family is inevitably swept up in the conflict. Their story is a heart warming portrayal that left wounds on the land and people.

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, played by Lance Wright is a widower, father of six sons and a daughter and 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."

But when his youngest son is taken prisoner, he leads the rest of his family in a rescue mission. His refusal to have his family involved turns out to have been principle and not cowardice, as he voices his belief that, like all wars, "the undertakers are winning."

Charlie sings and talks things over with Martha his deceased wife.

This is the musical version of the 1965 movie that starred Jimmy Stewart. It came to Broadway in 1975, and has been a success at regional, community and school theaters ever since because it can be emotionally satisfying as well as musically delightful. Shenandoah is a musical that celebrates America in the same excellent way that Oklahoma did. It is not afraid to believe in the goodness of man. The score has many beautiful songs.

Natalie Blackwell directed the musical.

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