Shenandoah premiered at Goodspeed in 1974 to an impassioned review from legendary critic Walter Kerr. "It is such a strange thing to be surprised by emotion," he wrote of his experience viewing the new musical with its "stubborn, rawboned simplicity."
The production made its Broadway bow on January 7, 1975, to mixed notices, but the show became a popular hit. Shenandoah earned six Tony nominations including Best Musical and went on to a 1,050 performance run. It later returned to Broadway in a 1989 revival, in which John Cullum reprised his Tony-winning performance.