‘Shenandoah’, a powerful Civil War musical, may well be the surprise success of the ’74-’75 Broadway season. Tapping the Bicentennial-spurred interest in American history, the play tells of a motherless clan fighting the threat of war. As the father, John Cullum, at 44 a seasoned actor, is surrounded by talented newcomers. Most beguiling: Chip Ford, 13, as the slave boy.
John Weidman stands to make it all the first time out. The son of writer Jerome Weidman, John at 28 has a Harvard B.A., a Yale law school degree and a job on the National Lampoon. More important, his first play, Pacific Overtures—about Commodore Perry in Japan—has been picked up by Broadway’s hottest tandem, producer-director Hal Prince and lyricist-composer Stephen Sondheim.
Liv Ullmann, Scandinavia’s leading actress, has had her ups (Bergman’s Persona and Scenes from a Marriage) and downs (dreck like Lost Horizon). In February U.S. audiences will see just how versatile Liv is when she makes her American stage debut in a revival of A Doll’s House in New York. She toured as Nora last year in Europe. Could be another upper for Liv.
Ann Reinking, who in a small dancing part nearly stole Over Here! from the Andrews Sisters, has landed a starring role with Joel Grey in Goodtime Charley, a musical about Joan of Arc (Reinking) and the dauphin (Grey). Her stage interpretation of the Maid, Ann says, will fall between Shaw’s Saint Joan and Shakespeare’s Henry VI’s view of her as “a whore and a witch.”
Frederica von Stade not only has a comely face, size eight figure and a social-register background—she is also a glorious mezzo-soprano. Two years ago she risked a fledgling Met career for opera abroad. Welcomed back a genuine star, she promises to be one of ’75’s shiniest new jewels. Happy? “I’m absolutely stage-struck,” she says. “I adore the whole thing.”
Norton Simon, shown sitting beneath his favorite Cézanne, has one of the great private art collections in America. He has now taken over the Pasadena Art Museum which, when it reopens in March, will begin showcasing his treasures. Unlike collector Joe Hirshhorn (page 16), Simon buys mostly paintings and is heavy on old masters. “He’s getting jazzy,” says a friend, “when he buys a Picasso.”
Architect I.M. Pei came off a tough season—his Boston Hancock Building’s windows popped and community protesters delayed Harvard’s JFK Library. But Pei is now at work on Washington’s newest monument, the National Gallery wing—a museum and a visual arts center. Praised for its exciting geometry, the museum is four times larger than the new Hirshhorn.