“Freedom” from Shenandoah (Original Broadway Cast)
music Gary Geld lyric Peter Udell
performed by Donna Theodore, Chip Ford
I find Shenandoah slightly stuffy, self-important, and so goddamn earnest that I don’t know if I could ever take a full production of it seriously. But the score and performances are wonderful, and I think it’s bold and uncomplicated, well, everything would play well in an Encores! setting. This is one of the best–and most underrated/ignored–showtunes of 70s. And you KNOW Donna Theodore is right up my alley.
Frances Sternhagen has had a varied career on stage and screen, and is one of my favorite character actresses. The two-time Tony winner received a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical in 1978 for the Angel, a musical adaptation of Look Homeward, Angel (based on Ketti Frings’ play, itself an adaptation of Thomas Wolfe’s novel). Gary Geld and Peter Udell (Purlie, Shenandoah) collaborated with Frings, but the composing team did not score a hat trick.
Angel lasted 5 performances at the Minskoff. This original cast album was never commercially released, though according to Not Since Carrie, producer Philip Rose distributed the LP from his office.
“Drifting” was Sternhagen’s only solo in the show, a gentle finale to the show’s first act.